Smack in the centre of the old town of Nicosia, Kala Kathoumena might be one of a handful of places that has stayed unchanged despite the winds of change and gentrification that are continuing to blow over the area.
That is not to say it is stuck in time, it has just never given up its laid-back air of authenticity to make room on the menu for an iced sugar-free vanilla latte with soy milk.
With graffiti art and little messages – often political – jokes or poems plastered on the walls, its colourful straw chairs and quiet atmosphere, Kala Kathoumena is a soul-warming place for hanging out with friends or with your new acquaintances you met in the book you’re currently reading. Rain or shine.
Still fighting the espresso flu that has taken over each and every one of us (including myself), for coffee you’ve got your traditional Cypriot coffee, frappe/Nescafe and French coffee.
The homemade yespornplease lemonade is always exceptionally fresh, and for the wild ones, there’s something called a ‘kanellada’, which would translate to something like a ‘cinnamonade’ – lemonade with cinnamon.
There’s even wilder combinations on the last page of the menu for the truly courageous, like Nescafe with cinnamon and brandy.
Regarding our dear friend alcohol, the menu might be limited compared to what you might find in a bar, but they make up for it in their own special way.
There’s the usual lot: some beer options, ouzo, tsipouro, zivania, wine, koumantaria.
But then there’s so much more: Kala Kathoumena has its own warm honey-wine and honey-zivania recipe, and its own ideas about what you can combine with zivania and tsipouro to turn what may be for some a no-go into a refreshing cocktail.
One example, and my favourite, is GreenTsi: tsipouro with lemonade, green tea and mint.
Nuts come with beers and other alcoholic beverages, ouzo and tsipouro get their little meze, and there’s light snacks to help you on your way to your next round of drinks.
Prices are of the lowest you can expect to find in wider area, and definitely a place worth returning to again and again.