Halloumi-loving Londoners, listen up. This month a restaurant solely dedicated to showcasing Cyprus’ national cheese is popping up for a limited time only.
Taking place at 100 Hoxton, the project was created by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation in an effort to showcase the country’s unique culture and entice people to visit the island. Originally intended to run for just one week from Monday 13 November, the idea proved so popular, selling out the week it was announced, that the pop-up restaurant will be open until Sunday 26 November.
With a menu created by chef Francis Puyat, every single course will feature halloumi, with dishes such as halloumi and cauliflower fritters with a lime pickle yoghurt, grilled courgette and halloumi salad, chargrilled halloumi flatbread and crumbled halloumi fingers with tomato chilli jam. The menu even features a unique cheese ice-cream for dessert. Diners can also sample one of two Cypriot inspired cocktails, a harissa bloody mary or a cilantro and ginger martini. Guests will be able to try each dish individually or opt for a full tasting experience with every item on a sharing platter for two people. Booking for the experience is essential, with spaces available on the second week in the evenings from Monday to Sunday.
“Discovering local cuisine is a huge part of why many people travel, and halloumi – the Cypriot national cheese – is very popular here in the UK. In fact, Brits are said to eat more halloumi than any other European country outside Cyprus! So, we knew showcasing our tasty squeaky cheese would be a great way to get attention and highlight Cyprus as a great destination for foodies and, of course, halloumi-lovers,” Orestis Rossides, UK Director of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation told Lonely Planet Travel News.
Cyprus feels so passionate about halloumi that it has even tried to secure protected designation of the origin status from the European Union. “If the application was successful, it would give the cheese a similar status as champagne, feta and Melton Mowbray pork pies, and mean this type of cheese could only be named halloumi if it was produced in Cyprus,” Orestis said.
While halloumi may be the best known Cypriot cheese internationally, it is not the only one. During the process of making it, another cheese is created. A mild, whey cheese called anari, while another popular type is kefalotyri, a harder, stronger cheese suitable for grating.
Bookings for the halloumi pop-up restaurant are available here.