November 26, 2022

Efendi Restaurant, Girne

An evening with Amy and Rachel


By Margaret Sheard…..

We have been trying to visit the venues where ASAP legal entertainers are performing and so a table was booked at Efendi Restaurant, which is tucked away in the old Turkish quarter of Girne, to catch up with Rachel – The Voice of an Angel.

It is many years since either of us had visited Efendi and we were delighted with what we found, although very different from what we remembered, with a lovely garden area in the rear courtyard and a newly decorated inside area ready for winter dining.

Efendi busy evening

We sat ourselves down and had another surprise when we met up with Kelsey, a Welsh girl from Swansea, who we have encountered many times on our travels over the past couple of years and she is now at Efendi, looking after the customers.  We chose our meal from the nice menu and a little later Rachel set up her equipment just inside the building and started singing her lovely assortment of songs old and new, not intrusive while guests were eating but very appreciated background music judging by the applause throughout the evening.

The restaurant was very busy that evening so we arranged toEfendi newly decorated meet up with Amy.who runs Efendi, and Rachel, on another occasion to find out more about both of them.

The Efendi Restaurant is an old Ottoman building which in its past life was a camel stable.  It has of course been brought up to the standard it is today over Efenci Bar newly deoratedmany years.

Amy Hurn was born in Cambridgeshire, UK, and during her working years she was Manager of 2 restaurants, so has a wealth of experience.  She came to Cyprus 11 years ago where she met Andy Radford and she decided to stay so they have been together ever since and have a 10 year old son, Oliver, who was born on the island.  Andy, who was an Art Director in London before moving to Cyprus, had already taken over what was then called The Efendi House and renamed it Efendi.  He arranged a huge amount of work with refurbishing the restaurant and making it the delightful place it is today.  Amy took on the task of management of the restaurant and judging from the number of diners we saw there when we visited she has made a great success of it.

The food was lovely and we can thank the Head Chef, Sam, who is Andy’s nephew.  Efendi is also recommended on Trip Advisor – to see this click here.

Andy as a child
A picture on the wall of Andy Radford as a child

Amy told us that initially she lived above the restaurant with Andy and Oliver but not an ideal arrangement living at your workplace so they now live at a different location and have decided next year to use the vacant upper floor for B & B accommodation with 3 en-suite bedrooms.  This will be Kelsey’s project to run, she is very enthusiastic and with her lovely personality and boundless energy it will be something special for her.

From 8th November, Efendi will be serving traditional Sunday lunch and Rachel will be entertaining on that day as well as her normal weekly performances on Wednesday and Saturday.

We enjoyed Rachel’s singing, she has a lovely voice and her style is to give background music for the first set and then turn up the tempo a little later in the evening for anyone who wants to take the floor and dance.

Rachel Saunby first came to North Cyprus in 2004 and fell in love with the island and also with one of the locals!!!   Originally from Kent, up until the time she met her partner, she was living in South Woodford on the outskirts of North London with her son Joshua.

Returning to North Cyprus about  4 or 5 times a year she would never want to leave, so when she had a chance in 2011 to leave the UK, she got a one way ticket and has been here ever since.

Rachel Saunby

Rachel said “I love the beautiful scenery and the people who are very friendly and I’m trying to learn Turkish too, it’s a very hard language, but as they say over here yavaş yavaş. For me it’s a dream come true to be in the country that I love and doing a job that I love. I never thought I would become a professional singer at my time of life, but it proves anything is possible”.

During her first years in North Cyprus Rachel teamed up with a friend, Paul, and they formed a duo called Karma, and sang together for about 18 months before both deciding to go solo.   .

Initially she worked as a waitress for Efendi and the Manageress at the time was Julia who persuaded her to sing to some customers. Rachel was very nervous about singing solo and said she actually stood behind a pillar in the restaurant that first time and sang Oleta Adams “Get Here” and so started a new career – The rest is history.  Rachel later became a good friend of Amy and they are still firm friends now with Efendi being a part of both of their lives.  Rachel said “Efendi for me means home, sanctuary, I can be myself there, and that definitely reflects in my singing”.

Rachel is often asked by guests if she has a CD of her songs and it is something she is thinking about producing at some time in the future.

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