119m - Timmy’s Bistro was originally set up in 2012, as a small, family-owned...
Minos - The Food Wizard of Mina
After sailing the seven seas, Captain, as locals and regulars call him, has come back to El Mina where his heart is firmly anchored.
Around the corner from Beit el Fan, he now serves great seafood at Minos, named after his son and Minos, the legendary god of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Never without his rolled up woollen beanie, Captain draws out of towners, foreigners and locals alike-some indeed have their own bottle of liquor, donning their names like a certain Abou Fadi.
Captain is no stranger to the food industry. His father used to run the well-known Sea Star restaurant on the seafront in Mina some 70 years ago. He suspects that his love of food and also a talent to create new dishes comes from his father.
“I was born and bred in Mina, with my feet in the water. The house I was born in now houses Tasty, (a restaurant near the Corniche). In winter the waves would even wash into the house,” he remembered.
Half Greek, the former commercial fisherman spent 27 years between Greece and Lebanon and also other ports around the world before deciding to move back to his home village, where he used to enjoy diving as a youngster.
The building in which he opened Minos five years ago is some 300 years old and used to be the city hall in Ottoman times. Captain purchased bit by bit from the various owners and renovated it, sticking to stone and wood, and traditional building methods. “I like everything that is old,” he professed. “When I was young in Greece I worked in an antique store and on a flea market in Athens. I’m in love with old things.”
Not surprisingly the stone walls are adorned with old pictures of Mina, there is an old gramophone in a corner and daggers and swords hang on the walls.
The kitchen is equipped with a wooden oven and most of the fish and sea food served is wood oven baked as opposed to deep fried. “I decided to do healthy food and seafood is healthy,” he explained.
Among the popular dishes served in this family business are the formula, which is a great combo of a dozen or so mezze, including various local fish such as red sniper or barracuda or others, squid, calamari, baby sardines, and octopus, marinated or baked, perfectly seasoned, paired with Lebanese salads and Spanish wine.
Besides the seafood pizza there is also the saganaki, prepared in small clay dishes made by George, a local potter.
Due to his talent to create unique dishes, Captain has gained a reputation as a food wizard and he is often asked to assist other restaurants to create signature dishes. “Maybe it’s in my genes that I like cooking,” he mused. “I used to cook for friends in Greece when studying.” Before opening Minos, Captain used to run another restaurant on the square nearby, as well as other eateries in Mina, in Greece, Egypt and Iraq.
Besides the delicious food you’ll get a Minos, it will be Captain’s jovial disposition and warm welcome that will make you want to go back for more.