Should any vegans follow this column I suggest they turn the page because The Griller may not be to your taste. In fact, it might be described as a carnivores delight. My mentor on meat advised me not to ask for salad. In Nicosia, can you believe it?
It may have something to do with the location. The hungry diner passes the old neglected Armenian cemetery, crosses the road into the Serial Griller, an open space behind the Kyrenian Community Centre, filled with memories and custom made tables. It is on the road to Ledra Palace and the British Army; the Greek Ambassador lives a little farther down, and then you reach the checkpoint to cross to the north. But don’t go that far. A problem the Griller faces is that its presence is hidden from the road. I know a minister of the cloth that turned down an invitation to the Griller because he thought it was the taxi station next door, frequented by coffee drinkers and their Oriental ladies.
There is a difficulty in reading the menu – flashlight on – which isn’t helped by the huge shading eucalypts, but Orestes, our waiter from Austria, was on hand to help the ageing diner. The menu is a single laminated page with the food on the left and the beer on the right. Beer first – over 30 to choose from, mostly high end Central European ABVs; the companion fancies a dark (dunkel) German, so I select a pint of slim Grimbergen blonde; why not?
Apart from the chili and the wedges, not a vegetable in sight. The aromas are redolent of every sporting venue you recall. It’s Burger country: Tennessee, Mexico, Hawaii, Louisiana, topped off by the Serial that refuses to be identified.
There are chickens, halves and quarters, sauce laden or naked, huge chops, racks of ribs, some are spare. For sausage lovers the Griller offers a platter full of them, which include ‘herd and beer’ sausages.
The last item on the list is a platter for two that contains wedges, ribs, wings, burgers, pots of sauce, and against all the odds and tradition, a portion of home-made coleslaw and we duly ordered it.
The companion, although not a regular burger disciple, declared it was the best she had eaten. It had none of the ghastly, palate-hugging grenade-size bun but a light slim delicate coverage; the beef was excellent. When I queried whether we should order more ribs, Orestes smiled and shook his head. This platter contained six of the largest chicken wings I have ever seen; they looked more Lockheed than Ross, and the sauce was of such potency that the companion let me eat all of them. Hot: they must have access to the Trinidad Scorpion.
I was guilty of a Serial social solecism – I asked for a finger bowl. The waiter had not heard of such nonsense. I could see why; we were surrounded by dozens of ‘finger-licking’ citizens.
The evening was memorable.
After more beer, we gathered up our remains and left.
The owners, refugees from Lapithos and Kyrenia, learned there skills in the USA and selling from the kerbside in Cyprus.
I doubt whether there is better value for such an enjoyable evening anywhere in Nicosia.
When we arrived Howling Wolf was whispering on the air-waves followed by a selection from the Icons of Blues.