Chef Pitsillides is a proud Cypriot. Bringing home style Cypriot flavours from the beautiful island of Cyprus to locals in Philadelphia. I’ve never been to Cyprus but was a frequent travel to the Greek Cyclades islands while living in Europe and thus familiar with the regions food. (see menu)
As soon as I walked into the white washed stucco walls of the restaurant I felt like I was once again on the blue roof top islands of the Cyclades. Cyprus has a deep history of battles between the Turkish and the Greeks and is therefore equally influenced by each culture and their foods. Which is great for me because I love both.
This BYOB uses mostly organic ingredients plus makes everything in-house. I wanted to try as many dishes as possible so I opted out of the entree and instead ordered several appetizers. For our main dishes we ordered the calamari, saganaki and bureki and the lamb kofta entree. The Calamari was served with a side of Armenian tomato dip. It was perfectly cooked and tasted light, crispy and tender.
Next up was the Saganaki- a favorite of mine. The pan fried halloumi cheese was served in ouzo and lemon sauce with a delicious caramelized fig and side salad. This was one of the best I’ve had…including those which were devoured in many restaurants in Athens, Mykonos and Paros.
The Bureki was served next: a fillo pastry parcel stuffed with feta and thyme drizzled with honey served with a side of roasted beets. The presentation was so beautiful with a taste to match. Crispy layers of fillo oozing with feta cheese. The Count found that the honey made it more appropriate for dessert but I loved it, especially the presentation.
The lamb kofta was served next. It was a skewer of ground lamb mixed with apricot and pistachios served with a side of pomegranate salad, lentils and Greek yogurt. The lamb was excellent filled with magic flavors. But what truly made it special were the side dishes. The pomegranate salad was so original. I’ve never had pomegranate served as a salad as in Iran it tends to be eaten as a fruit or juiced. The mixture of pomegranate with onions and spices was excellent. Then there was the lentil salad which was again a first for me. I mixed spoonfuls of the kabob, pomegranate and lentil salad together and found the combination to be intoxicating.
For dessert we ordered the pistachio and olive oil cake and warm chocolate mousse. Both desserts were out of this world. I really loved the pistachio cake it was light yet intense in flavors served with a side of pistachio ice cream and cherries. The Chocolate mousse was baked to perfection oozing with warm gooey chocolate served with a scoop of ice cream.