Tim McKnight is a Melbourne-based writer and weekend escapee
Published September 20th 2011
Malvern's Glenferrie Road hosts a broad spectrum of restaurants featuring foods characteristic of most regions on our fine planet. Count in Antarctica if you consider ice cream a delicacy.
Lying half way between cheapish take-away joints and expensive tapas bars we find the cosy Nicosia Turkish Restaurant. Admittedly it was with some trepidation that my better half and I took a seat inside at the seniors' feeding time of 5.30 on a Friday afternoon. Experience told me to expect food that emits all the fragrant aromas of Middle Eastern spices but laced with enough salt to shrivel the kidneys of a blue whale.
Poring over the reasonably priced and extensive menu would be intimidating if it weren't for the considerate addition of photos alongside many of the items. Certainly made our adventurous choice of an Ispanakli pizza and a full kebab with rice and salad easier. And as it turned out, good.
The friendly and attentive staff delivered a basket of fresh, warm Turkish bread that threatened to spoil our appetites before the pizza arrived. While nothing fancy, the satisfying thin-crust pizza was tasty and generously topped. A sizzling kebab plate of assorted meats and rice with Greek-style salad followed hot on the heels of the pizza, and was the surprise package of the experience. Notably so because the flavour balance was just right: the spices neatly complemented the meat, and the restrained use of salt did not leave us desperate for water.
Nicosia cleverly includes a couple of understated entertainment options worthy of a dating couple's attention. The mounted shelves hold at least 99 bottles of beer and wine on the wall, offering ample opportunities for breaking into song to impress that special someone. Or perhaps relieve those awkward moments by citing fascinating facts about Cyprus from the menu's front cover.
Essentially, Nicosia offers tasty food at reasonable prices in a vibrant atmosphere.