Food lovers in the capital were treated to an extraordinary affair that represented Cypriot cuisine earlier in December. Held at Royal Park Residence Hotel from 7 December to 9 December, 2019, “The Cyprus Food Festival” brought together the tastes of this unique cuisine. The inauguration event was attended by the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and the High Commissioner of Maldives.
Rajeeva Mendis, the Executive Chef and Resident Manager, and his team put in copious amount of effort to develop, prepare, cook and present the food for the festival. With 30 years of local and international experience in the food industry, with a decade spent in Bangladesh, Mendis is highly proficient in the culinary arts.
In a brief interview session, he mentioned, “I think Cypriot food is uncommon in Bangladesh. We served Cypriot food here back in 2005 when I used to work here, but after I left, it was gone. I wanted to bring back the tradition and rejuvenate Cypriot cuisine here. I also worked in Cyprus for four years, which was another source of inspiration.”
The food festival was an amalgamation of Cypriot food and culture. To complete the ambience with a traditional vibe, even the waiters were dressed in traditional Cypriot attire.
The cuisine is similar to Middle Eastern food and has influences from Turkey and Greece. It focuses on containing the authenticity of flavours rather than being overwhelmed with spices and condiments.
The menu was carefully structured to ensure a delectable gastronomical experience. Other than the items served in the live station, everything was baked and not fried.
The menu comprised of a thoughtful selection of noteworthy Cypriot food. While the main dishes and appetisers were served buffet style at the centre, there was a soup and bread station that displayed hand-crafted breads. The salad section included the must-have dips such as halloumi, along with grilled vegetable salad and tzatziki sauce and other traditional selections.
Main dishes included both veg and non-veg options such as Greek style prawns with herbed couscous, lamb stew with onions, eggplants in tomato sauce and many more. Additionally, the live action station served mutton balls and lentil croquettes. The dessert and fruits corner served decadent delights like chocolate truffles and peach mousse for a perfect finish.
This was an excellent way to paint an authentic impression of Cypriot flavours in the minds of locals, and a way to provide a peek into the lesser known culture.