Sankwish special
 
As you will probably know by now, I like to try out new things. I love to visit restaurants and like to try out new take-away places. I have a drawer full of menus.
 
A reader recently told me how he feels that the standard of written English is quite abysmal in Cyprus (although, he did say that some Brits are no better in making sense in English, even though it is their mother tongue). Looking through my take-out menus and looking over the menus of restaurants I have visited, I see he has a point. Not only do many Cypriots tend to use expressions that were buried along with Queen Victoria, some cannot even make sense when they use simple English. I’m not talking about minor little typos, everyone makes those (including me). I’m not talking about honest mistakes either. I’m talking about howlers- menu items and descriptions that make absolutely no sense; indecipherable menus that read more like cryptic crosswords than lists of dishes. I’m talking about menus with dishes like “Spagetti and meatbools” and worse.
 
Now I know that most restaurateurs cannot claim English as their first language, and that’s okay. I know that many have only a basic grasp of the language and that’s fine too. But a simple spell checker, a look in the dictionary or a glance by someone who knows a little more can instantly pick up something like “Corn on the comb”. And I think the Cypriot people are not doing themselves justice by showing tourists these menus. We are better than this; all it takes is a little effort to prevent an overworked waiter from handing a tourist a booklet entitled “Drings list”.
 
In any case, I’ve compiled my own little list. Most of the menu items below have been found by trawling through my dozens of menus, and they are of restaurants whose food I enjoy. Others are from the internet, but all are genuine. One restaurant’s website had a “Massage Board” although I suspect they meant something else (unless it’s a new-fangled shiatsu gizmo which works while you eat).
 
In some cases the food I found sounded unpleasant but it might be realistic to assume that the text itself isn’t to blame. But does anyone really like ice cream with avocado? 
 
Looking through the websites, I was also left wondering how there can be more than one “jewel of Paphos” and whether so many taverns can all be “the most authentic tavern in Cyprus”. Some of the claims the restaurants make on their brochures, and especially on the Internet cannot possibly be true. Then there’s the bar whose owner, on the website, describes himself as charming. Charming, indeed.
 
But, to cut to the chase (or get straight to the roast as the Greek expression goes), below is my list of favourites, which I am not making up. I hope to try this menu on a dinner party soon.
 
STARTERS AND SNACKS                                                    
·          Sankwish special
·          Grab coctail                                            
·          Jam with cabbage soup

 
MEAT DISHES                                                       
           Spair rips / Spear ribs                            
·          Bread-cramped chicken fillet (snitsel)   
·          Chicken carry                                         
·          Lamp chops                                           
·          Lamp chicken
·          Lamp souvla                                           
·          Pork meat with bread crump

 
SEAFOOD
·          Crap-claws                                            
·          Swart fish with chips on a plate
·          Prawn frying pane
·          Dover soul
·          Place fillet breaded
·          Small fish crowd
·          Octabus main course                             
·          My menories (fresh squid, prawns and crabs accompanied with avocato sauce)
 
AFTER DINNER
·          Coffee or tea is server to those ask for it.
 
 
Of course, there is all the other useful information on the leaflets and on the web pages. Things like:
·          If your food is not fresh then you must be sitting somewhere else.
If you read the above waffle on a menu and your food is cold or tasteless, you’re better off in another restaurant. But at least it kind of makes sense. Unlike:
·          Menu we cater for every one family, children's menus, and all you love birds.
 
Then there’s the restaurant in Paphos whose spiel seems to suggest that the town’s port area was foretold by the prophets of antiquity:
·          Build in a traditional old way not to spoil the messianic feeling of the area the restaurant brought a unique picture and atmosphere to the day and night life of Pafos.
 
Does the tourist board know about this messianic feeling? Someone should tell them. Maybe they could arrange special holiday packages.

 

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