Perfect day in Cyprus again….. we spent a lot of the day doing jobs. Bob is still putting the cabling in place for the garden lighting, a tricky job…. I took buckets of water and a brush to the dining terrace to clear off the dust, and also watered all of the containers around the house and garden. The man came up and put the woven canvas roof onto our pergola, which looks lovely and gives great shade. And, we went down to the curtain shop and picked up our four pergola curtains and their tie backs. So… nearly there with the pergola.
This evening we had booked to have dinner at the vineyard up the hill in Ilgaz. It’s within walking distance but… we drove….. we were dining with our lovely neighbours, Alan and Lesley. The vineyard has been in existence for about 2 years now and they have two areas of the mountain slope planted up: one up on the same side as us which we can see from the garden; one on the other side of our ridge. This one also has a restaurant, the tasting room and a small but plush boutique hotel. The tasting room opened last summer just after our last visit and we’ve been dying to try it. Lots of people we know have been up for tastings and we’d heard only good things about the wine.
The complex is Israeli owned and the original vines are from the Golan Heights, from a company called Etel Vineyards. The hotel GIlham Vineyard Hotel
has been in operation for about a year and just recently they opened a fine dining restaurant. We just had to try it and so glad we did. The restaurant is on a terrace overlooking the steep ravine and with wonderful mountain views. There is plenty of parking and a very friendly welcome from all the staff. Before we ordered the chef came around and introduced himself and we had a good chat.
Bob and Alan started with the soup, which was a cauliflower cream soup. I had a taste and I have to say it was certainly the best cauliflower soup I have ever tasted, possibly the best soup I have ever tasted. A good start. The waiter also brought us a wonderful warm bread board with a tomato/olive oil dip and a sea bass ceviche as an amuse from the chef. Lesley and I tucked into that as we were not having a starter. It was a large amuse, big enough for 4 certainly.
We ordered a bottle of the Gilham Red, the house standard, which is currently made with Israeli harvested grapes but from next year will be using the local fruit. It was delicious. Really delicious. We had two bottles and a bottle of water.
For mains, Bob had seafood paella. I had double lamb cutlets, coated in herbs with a selection of roasted vegetables. Lesley had seabass with Cypriot sausage slices and vegetables. Alan had a ribeye steak with potatoes Lyonnaise and vegetables. All were excellent, imaginatively flavoured and good portions.
Lesley and I had dessert. I had a middle eastern style dessert of candied figs in a red wine jus, halva parfait, crumbled nuts, candied mint and a Turkish spiced pastry crumb. Lesley had chocolate mousse with brandy, salted caramel, crumbled peanuts. Both were fab! The chaps had coffees. The whole lot (remember, 2 bottles of wine) came to about £90. Quite expensive by Cypriot standards but worth every penny for such lovely food in very up market surroundings. We will definitely return. It would be rude not to…. we’re practically neighbours!