By Heidi Trautmann
Dorian – a lovely name, a young person who doesn’t want to get older, Dorian Gray who sold his soul to stay young and active. We all know Dorian Gray, but I don’t mean that one, I am talking of Dorian, the restaurant in a niche of Nicosia, young and fresh.
A building very close to the old Ledra Palace Hotel, the Press Club of Nicosia, the entrance of which is at the back of the building, that is the niche; a building, with the front side to the buffer zone and a acting as a sort of balcony for the media representatives to sit with their backside in safety and look out onto the rough side. A play of thoughts.
I often thought – again - when I park the car before I cross the line to the South – what a beautiful place behind the gate of this niche - and now I found the gate wide open when I decided last week to verify the rumours about a new, freshly opened restaurant led by Çağrı Çerkez and his cousin Şafer. In the big garden in front of the restaurant I discover some guests who seem to be regulars – under a tree an old couple enjoying the shade, granny with a girl kneeling in front of her, on the other side a half nude with a sort of balance in her hands, she can’t be a market woman weighing the onions, oh my, she seems to be Mrs Law personally. Yes, you guess right, these regulars are the life size sculptures by Sevcan Çerkez.
At the door of the restaurant Cağrı Çerkez waits for me, smiling and welcoming me. It is early in the day and there are three guests sitting on white stools at white tables in white rooms, the cushions brightly coloured, they are eating from white plates, most walls all in glass to let some green in, bright green of the garden. Can you see it, smell it? It smells fresh, I told you.
With Çağrı, you have again guessed right, he is the son of Sevcan, is his girl friend and partner Buğu Şah, an interior designer. She has an open face and thus are her ideas. No fuss, clear as the light in her eyes. She has done something very chic with little money. They will further furnish the place with the same simplicity, using interesting old furniture they have collected and revamping them.
The restaurant was opened only three months ago and has already a good reputation with visitors from both sides of the green line - just side to side with the International Press Club you can bet, these people are interesting - and no wonder with Şafer being the Chef. He brings me the menu card and we discuss it; a good choice of interesting dishes, also here no fuss, he swings his cooking spoon to international tunes; a little Italian pasta, some spicy dishes from Lebanon, the best of Cypriot cuisine, we also get a little bit of Chinese taste,… helas no German sausages…. No, honestly, a very recommendable cuisine and at very reasonable prices.
But, now it comes: the most interesting for me is the music that is played there, usually on Friday nights. Çağrı works together with The Gommalars, which means Friends in old Cypriot language, or beads, I have been told, beads of a chain, friends coming together to make music. And, I love it, I love this kind of music, it is a mixture of classic, chanson-like, poetic, popular music, using all sorts of instruments and the voices are instrumental just as well. Çağrı showed me the video of a concert at the Bedesten in Nicosia beginning of January with the members of five different groups, altogether 24 musicians. I am really sorry that I missed this concert at the Bedesten. But some of the musicians, sometimes in groups of three or four, will play at The Dorian on Friday nights. I will inform you on my website of any other events.
When you next come to Nicosia try this niche, for a coffee, a light meal or for a dinner, or for a Friday dinner with music. Telephone 0533 861 5999 or 227 4373.
Published in ZOOM IN March Issue