By Margaret Sheard ….
We were recently invited by a long time friend, Linda Fraim, to visit her friend’s new venture in Bellapais.
We visited Café Paganini, a venue which has just been opened by Aras Karabalyan, which is a very different type of meeting place. Meeting place is exactly what Aras has in mind, as he wants Café Paganini to be a place where people meet up for tea/coffee and cake and to relax and talk together, with maybe just a little classical music in the background. Chris and I spent a long time chatting to both Aras and Linda, about many subjects, which is exactly the theme of the café.
As an added bonus, the Café is located in the most appropriate spot, right opposite Bellapais Abbey. In fact the building where the café is situated was once the guest house for travellers visiting the Abbey.
Aras told me he will be serving infused teas and good coffee and there will be a selection of home-made cakes and biscuits to enjoy, he will also probably include wine at a later date. There will be special Mozaik Chocolate Cake and also sorbet, and on special occasions they will serve Canadian Pancakes, Egg Muffins and other surprises. It is important to Aras to get away from the now accepted ready-made products which most of us tend to use for convenience. This is a sample of his forthcoming menu.
As well as a place to meet with friends and enjoy the café atmosphere, there is a range of paintings for sale, also jewellery which is one of the things Aras had dealings with in the past with his Secret Window shop in Karakum. There are lovely pictures made from silk cocoons, so it is not just a café, but also a place where you can find some interesting gift items.
There is seating both inside and outside where of course there is a magnificent view of the Abbey and it is a nice place to sit and watch the world go by.
Aras was born in Istanbul and lived in Toronto, Canada for 25 years before coming to North Cyprus to make his home here. He is very interested in the music festivals held at Bellapais Abbey twice yearly and has appropriately named his café after one of the great composers.
While we sat talking to Aras and Linda, we were also joined by Aras’s mother, Şake Karabalyan, who we were told has played the piano since she was a small child, having lessons from a German tutor. She speaks several languages, graduating from the Austrian High School in Istanbul, she is fluent in the German language.
Café Paganini will be open Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) from 9am to 9pm from the 10th September.
It is situated on the right hand side as you proceed to the Bellapais Abbey car park, you can’t miss it.