"One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested" - E.M.Forster
Doros Nearchou is both the owner and Chef of Laledes and he promotes heavily the 'local roots' card both in the purchasing of ingredients, in his cooking, and within the environment he serves his dishes. Here is a restaurant which offers all the correct values of freshness, flavour and affordability with a good dash of character and culture added to the mix, delivering to customers a more rounded experience of how Cypriot food can be elevated to include some delicious modern twists.
This is a man who is passionate not only regarding his 'place' within his village but specifically the old house he converted to become both his chefs domain but also a repository for the myriad of artefacts he lovingly collected since childhood.
Walls are hung with agricultural implements, cooking pots and cleavers, hand made kitchen knives, weighing scales, paraffin lamps, mosaics, samples of local art painted on old wooden shutters , kitchen pottery, and baskets, examples of woven cloth, and some customers are privileged to be able to sit on chairs handcrafted in Kouklia over 230years ago.
"After a good dinner one can forgive anybody-even ones relatives".
- Oscar Wilde.
Doros is steeped in a great sense of belonging, whose passion for local fresh food sits squarely and honestly on your plate and always partnered by a basket of fresh from the oven bread. Bread making is yet another passion for he is a 'dough' enthusiast and loves experimenting with the magical properties of flour, water, salt, and yeast, a passion handed down from his mother who was the woman villagers called upon to hand build their unique outdoor bread ovens.
Laledes is the type of place where one can practise that very best of indoor/outdoor sport; - eating, with most of us being lucky enough to play it three times a day, here, its on offer to 'players' twice a day with some going for a less strenuous activity by settling for a simple coffee and cake come mid morning or a light lunch with delicious salad and home made bread sandwiched between slivers of perfectly cooked roast chicken. All enjoyed while reading the paper, browsing the small library available to customers or logging on with the restaurants free Wi-Fi.
Others may plump for more of a marathon with a meze designed to demonstrate the full meaning of that word. Seasonal dishes dominate the meze, as Doros shops for everything fresh that day, then decides what to cook so, the menu is there only as a basic guide, and to get the very best out of this eatery, customers should just ask 'what does Chef recommend today' and off you might go on a tasting trail of homemade dips and bread, the very best home made ravioli, generous mixed green salad with chunks of halloumi flavoured with balsamic dressing. Grilled wild vegetables, mushrooms and spinach, plus a selection of grilled meats and Moorish mini roast potatoes with coriander.
For those into less of a long distance culinary experience Doros will make to order his famous Chateaubriand or if in a seafood mood try the perfectly cooked juicy prawns wrapped in Kateifi ( looks like light wisps of shredded wheat)
Fish is popular choice here as it comes with Chefs own tangy/ mellow sauces and a supper of delicately cooked sea-bream with home made bread, delicious green salad and lashings of coriander encrusted potatoes is the stuff of culinary dreams.
Vegetarians are also well catered for and no, it's not going to be the Cypriot version of a nut cutlet as Doros genuinely relishes his veggie menus often going out on a culinary limb to ensure there is always something original to offer those of a 'green' persuasion. There is also gluten free bread which Doros makes on a regular basis and he can always adapt his bank of dishes to cater creatively for most dietary needs.