North Cyprus Fab Fodder – A guide to great places to eat The Red Lion
Update number 1 -The Red Lion Alsancak
As a new resident on this beautiful island I am slowly finding my way round the good, the bad and the ugly of some of North Cyprus’s eateries and I thought it might be handy to share some of the more positive experiences with you lovely people.
Now please be assured this is not intended as a guide to fine dining as I (and him indoors) are working class northerners who frankly couldn’t tell a Pinot Grigio from a Chateau Neuf du Pape. Him indoors is a connoisseur of the “all day breakfast” – his favourite meal and I, whilst I like to consider myself a little more discerning, generally just prefer good home cooked, fresh grub that does not break the bank!
As I prepare for the onslaught of the annual deluge of relatives (did not see that much of them when I was in the UK – but strangely they suddenly have the urge to come visit) I thought I would start to compose a list (of sorts) of places worth another visit…and of course share this information so others can also benefit from the knowledge!
So the first place I would like to tell you about is the Red Lion at Alsancak. You can find the Red Lion by travelling from Girne – West along the main road. Near the Illeli supermarket look for the turning for the Deniz Kizi Hotel and turn as if going to the hotel. The restaurant is a short way down this road. The “pub” part is typically laid out and there are influences of the British pub. Efes is available on draught and particularly positive for the other half so was Strongbow cider.
The food on offer was a combination of Chinese/Thai and some Indian dishes. Prices were very reasonable with starters coming in around 8-10TL and mains from 20TL upwards. There were some specials available too. When it was time to eat we were invited to the restaurant at the rear of the pub. It was lovely, small and intimate but nicely decorated with crimson lanterns and fans and an oriental statue taking centre stage. The lighting contributed effectively to the ambience and the music was pleasant and as it should be (in the background).
The service was pleasant and prompt and the food was delicious. It tasted really “fresh and light” and not the congealed gloop of sodium monoglutamate that often arrives in Chinese inspired restaurants. It was a delight. The portions were not huge but they were sufficient and we enjoyed every mouthful. I was told by other regulars in the bar to try the sushi….I was not brave enough this time but I was assured that it was fab and if you have not (like me) ever experienced it, then ask the chef to prepare you a small plate. The best accolade I can give this restaurant is that him indoors, did not even complain that “there were no chips”. Now this might not seem like a big issue to most of you but, I can assure you it is often fatal for the culinary experience of my other half.
I once selected one of the best restaurants in Manchester for his birthday meal and invited a number of close friends and family to join us…most of whom complimented it on being one of the best meals they had ever had….him indoors.???.”What do you mean you don’t serve chips?” with a face like a smacked arse! Note to self…book Frankie and Benny’s next year!
Finally, for the girly’s out there….the toilets were spotless and smelled sweet too….very important. If a place can’t keep their loos clean what chance of the kitchen being maintained hygienically?
All in all four stars from me!
(pictures courtesy of Red Lion Bar and Mandarin Oriental Bistro Facebook page)