Niazi’s Lagoon Restaurant in Kyrenia – over-priced, appalling customer service

I was meaning to go to the Grand Center Boutique Hotel in Kyrenia for a meal with three friends but despite having a reservation the restaurant was closed. One of the group said that they’d had an excellent meal at Niazi’s Lagoon Restaurant and that a fish meze was 30TL so we decided to go there instead. I wished we hadn’t. Up until now I had decided to never write a poor review about a local restaurant but the indifference with which we were treated, and the poor value for money, has made the Lagoon an exception.

The first shock was that the price of the meze was now 42TL but on inspecting the menu I discovered that a main course could be selected from the main menu and the Turbot and Dover Sole did look appealing. Three of us decided to order the fish meze and one a cheese stuffed pepper (10TL) and a swordfish kebab (25TL).

We ordered and after about 15 minutes our drinks arrived but that was all. We had expected at least some bread by this time. After 30 minutes another group had arrived and had been served their meze. We eventually managed with difficulty to persuade the waiter to bring our cold mezes, the majority of which were a bit too vinegary for my liking, and also the cheese stuffed pepper for the fourth member of the group. After another 30 minutes, when we had all long finished these, a tiny hot fish cake was dropped on my plate but still no salad. A small plate of calamari rings signalled the end of this course.

The fourth member of the group by now began to insist that her main course was brought as all she had eaten was a single stuffed pepper, no salad, and a slice of bread. it was nearly 9pm and she was famished.

The restaurant charged 5TL for a 330ml Efes, the equivalent of £3 a pint, and 4TL for a small tonic water. A large bottle of water was 4TL.

I had decided to save my appetite for the main course and was now wondering why we’d not been asked which main course we wanted. Suddenly a plate arrived and it became clear this was the main dish and was to be shared with three people. As you can see from the picture below (minus three skewers with two small pieces of swordfish) we were shocked and a little puzzled how we were to share this between us.

main course

A small plate of chips was included and we were asked whether we wanted a salad, which of course we did. The chips and the salad were to be shared between the whole group. That too was minuscule. It is unlike me to become angry but I began to realise that if I’d order a few mezes and the Turbot main course it would probably have been cheaper and I would have received what I’d actually wanted.

By now the evening was spoilt so that on the rare occasion that a waiter visited our table I was asked if I enjoyed the meal I couldn’t help saying “no!” I explained that the reason I was unhappy was that for 30 minutes we’d not even been given bread but also that I had chosen the fish meze because it had said I could choose a main course from the main menu. I expected to be able chose the Turbot or Dover Sole and not have to share a small plate of fish. The waiter then told me that these were not available that evening.

Ten minutes later a waitress appeared and asked us what the problem was and we repeated our complaint. We pointed at the main course plate and explained that it would be impossible to share and she offered to cook more fish for us. We explained that after two hours we were not prepared to wait. She then said she’d get the owner to talk to us but in the end, after 2 hours and 30 minutes in total, with no sign he would appear at our table, we decided to pay the bill and leave, vowing never to return. As we got up to leave another waiter asked if we had enjoyed the meal and was told that we didn’t; he totally ignored the comment.

We met the waitress again as we were leaving and explained that the owner had never arrived at our table and she replied with a Turkish Cypriot shrug as if to say there was nothing else she was prepared to do. I know that customers get good service and food at this restaurant because while I waited to be served I saw this with my own eyes as the owner sat with a group chatting while food was brought promptly to their table and waiters regularly topped up their glasses. Obviously were not considered to be worthy of the same service even though we were paying the same price for food.

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