“ Cuisine: Mediterranean / Address: 400 Muswell Hill Broadway London N10 1BS / Tel: 020 8444 7172 „
Cilicia is a small, family owned, Mediterranean restaurant in Muswell Hill, North London. I have walked past it many times over the three years I've spent in London and it's always packed whether it's daytime, evening, weekend or week night. When my parents visited a couple of weeks ago I made a booking for four through toptable for a Thursday evening.
= Muswell Hill =
Muswell Hill is a town in North London, one of the nicer areas in the London Borough of Haringey. It is a largely residential area with a good shopping area. There are a couple of supermarkets, a cinema, 4 churches, a synagogue and a range of pubs, restaurants and shops, which are mostly independent rather than chains. It is close to Alexandra Palace and Highgate Woods. Famous people who live in Muswell Hill include Adam Ant, The Pretenders, Lesley Garrett, Michael McIntyre and Oscar nominated actress Sophie Okonedo.
= The restaurant =
Cilicia is a Mediterranean restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere. A small restaurant with an intimate feel, it is beautifully decorated with nice big wooden tables and colourful lanterns from around the world which are suspended from the ceiling. It is quite a small restaurant - just one long room but it can accommodate a decent number of tables without forcing them close together restricting aisle space. There is a warm, friendly feel to the restaurant mainly due to the lovely staff and the fact that it is always busy. From the outside, the restaurant doesn't look like much. It is distinctly average and I feel it's a little bit scruffy with handwritten signs outside the door displaying the daily specials. If it wasn't for the fact that it's always busy, I probably never would have thought to visit! I've walked past a few times in the summer months they open up the huge windows so that the tables by the window are almost outside! There are also a few tables outside when it's warmer which is nice, but they are on the street where cars are flying past so I'm not sure I'd fancy it!
= Accessibility =
The restaurant is located on Muswell Hill Broadway, close to shops and other restaurants. It is easily accessible by bus routes 103, 299, 134, 144, 234, 43, W7, 603, however Muswell Hill is not on the tube or rail network. Muswell Hill is a desirable location with lots of bars and restaurants, attracting young professionals and also an older generation. Cilicia seems to be enjoyed again by all age groups, attracting families with children, young people and older couples. However, there is nowhere to park outside the restaurant which might cause an issue for some potential customers and this is a common problem with a lot of restaurants in London. However, the public transport is excellent in the area and it's silly to drive in London anyway!
Address: 400 Muswell Hill Broadway, London, N10 1BS
Tel: 020 8444 7172
Opening times: 365 days a year, 9.00am - midnight
= The service =
The service was one of the most delightful things about this restaurant. When we walked in we were greeted like friends by the man we assumed to be the owner. He took us to our seats and handed us the food and wine menus. The lady who came to take our order was lovely and smiley and could not do enough to help. I especially liked that they brought a jug of water over with the drinks without being asked! When the food arrived the staff were very polite and attentive but did not regularly disturb us to check if everything was okay, which I appreciated. We always felt that there was someone on hand to ask for drinks and desserts etc but it was a relaxing atmosphere without hassle from the staff. When we asked for the bill at the end we were brought mints and short drinks which were on the house. The owner was the one to bring it over which I thought was a nice touch and he talked to us, again, as if we were old friends.
= The menu =
The menu was a varied Mediterranean selection with 30 options of mezze, a menu from the charcoal grill and seafood and vegetarian options. We started by sharing the hot mezze platter (£12.50) between four of us which included filo parcels of feta cheese and spinach, grilled halloumi, kofta, calamari, falafel, salami and salad. It was delicious and was a perfect amount for us to share as a starter. We were each able to pick out the things we liked best and along with the complimentary bread they bring out for everyone, I thought the starter was excellent.
For my main course I chose the Kleftico (£9.50). Cilicia's lamb was every bit as good as I've had in Greece and was certainly the best I've had in England. The lamb was so tender it fell off the bone and it was served with new potatoes which were covered in the sauce. It came with carrots and tomatoes which were delicious. It was a really large portion and even for me, who could eat a horse, it was very filling and I couldn't even fit in a dessert! My dad had the same meal and really enjoyed it too.
My family are all massive meat eaters and this menu really caters well to this with an extensive meat menu but also has a fantastic range of seafood and vegetarian options. Mum ordered the Cilician Mussaka (£8.00) which happened to be from the vegetarian menu which she thought was wonderful. I wouldn't normally order vegetarian but it looked delicious. My partner Alex ordered the Lycian Chicken which was stuffed with mozzarella and spinach and served with mashed potato. It also came with a delicious mushroom sauce which we all tried. The chicken was tender and the flavours all complimented each other well so it was wonderful and well worth £9.50.
= Examples of mezze =
- Tzatziki £2.95
- Grilled Hallumi £3.75
- Mitite Kofta £3.75
- Garlic Tiger Prawns £4.95
- Deep Fried Whitebait £3.95
- Calamari £3.95
- Sauteed Mushrooms in wine £3.95
- Feta Pastry Triangles £3.75
= Examples of mains =
- Sirloin steak £11.50
Grilled and served with caramelized onions, served with vegetables and chips
- Trojan Horse Chicken £8.50
Chicken cubes, herbs and diced shallots wrapped with grilled aubergine slices in aubergine sauce.
- Grilled Mix Sea Food £11.50
Sword fish, salmon, tiger prawns and mussels on mashed potato served with tomato cream sauce.
- Calf's Liver Cassoulet £9.50
Pan fried slice of calf's liver with sage floured butter sauce served with sautéed potatoes and vegetables.
- Aubergine Boat £8.00
Aubergine stuffed with shallots, tomatoes, currants, pine kernels and capsicum served with rice.
I think the prices are very reasonable for a restaurant in the area, especially with the size of the portions and how delicious all the food is! My only niggle on the cost is that I can't eat there regularly because even though it's not over-expensive, it isn't cheap either. I eat out quite regularly with friends in Muswell Hill and we find ourselves visiting 'voucher restaurants' more often than not because we can get 2 for 1 meals at Giraffe, Ask or Pizza Express!
We were so full after the huge main courses that only my dad and I attempted dessert. We both had mixed ice cream which came with wafers and chocolate sauce which was just about the only thing we could manage. They had a small selection of desserts including cakes, panacotta, baklava and the healthier option of fruit and yoghurt. Drinks were fairly expensive but comparable with other restaurants in the area. Soft drinks were approximately £2 each and we bought a bottle of wine for the table which cost £19 which was one of their mid-range wines.
I believe Cilicia is very popular in the mornings for breakfast and there is a special set breakfast menu along with other options. I have yet to try this out but when I do in the new year I will add some extra information!
= Overall =
I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who lives in North London or anyone visiting. I don't think it's worth a visit from out of the way but it really is a little treasure up in Muswell Hill and for me it's the best restaurant in the area. The food is excellent and with an extensive menu can cater for all tastes, however the atmosphere and service are what make this restaurant so special. The location is good and is on many bus routes but as I mentioned earlier, the lack of parking areas could deter potential customers, also the fact that it isn't near a tube station could deter people from visiting. Most of the people in there seemed to be regulars who knew the staff so they obviously have their loyal customers, however they treated us so well and we felt so welcome that we all want to return. They must make a fortune in tips!
Well worth a visit if you live in the area or are visiting! 9/10 or 4/5 for dooyoo purposes!