Restaurant Review: Laledes, Paphos - Cyprus Mail
By By Nan Mackenzie
Published on March 23, 2012 (online) and 18 March,2012 on hard copy
If only we could be gifted with a food panic button so, when in urgent dietary distress you could 'break glass, press red button' and await rescue. Without hesitation, my preferred emergency service provider would be Doros Nearchou, chef and owner of Laledes restaurant. That said, it's common knowledge one's level of expectation is always crucial to our enjoyment, be it food, wine, going to the cinema, or theatre. It's therefore difficult to know what to do when you believe something is excellent, and you want friends to discover it by chance just as you did, but, the problem has always been how to do this without raising their expectations and so increasing their capacity for disappointment.
Laledes sits in the 'almost perfect' category. Okay, having pressed my red panic button here are reasons why Doros has the essential ingredients to be voted one of the very best eateries in the Paphos region. First, the restaurant is in Kouklia, a village currently boasting a fair sprinkling of good eateries so there is stiff competition to draw in customers and turn them into regulars - always a good thing as those who do shine have to maintain a consistent standard and not fall off the culinary perch through complacency.
Next, the restaurant used to be a private home, so it offers a lovely, quiet place to dine, either upstairs in the dining area, outside on the balcony or at a table close to the front door. It's also a depository for all the weird and wonderful artefacts Doros has lovingly collected over the years, for this is a man who at 13 started to acquire everything from old, hand-made knives, farm implements, cooking equipment and anything and everything he thought was important to times gone by. Now patrons can dine surrounded by this fine collection while tucking into the kind of food that makes you wish you had discovered this little gem of place from the day it opened a little over six months ago.
Doros is undeniably Cypriot and his knowledge of and passion for local produce and recipes that have been created in this country is extraordinary, with every dish reflecting those enthusiasms and, to some extent, also his training in other European restaurants. He has the art of being able to cook food which may be French in origin, delicately sauced and bolstered by vegetables, but remains constant to the spirit of Cypriot cooking.
By law, every restaurant must display a full menu, but this is a place that should never be so restrained, Doros regularly offers a plat du jour, relishing it even more when customers request him to make dishes not always displayed on menu. We started with a delicate array of dips and bread all homemade, then on to a delicate piece of rolled white fish stuffed with capers served on a bed of wilted spinach. There followed large, juicy prawns wrapped in wisps of kateifi and served with another perfectly matched creamy tangy sauce. A boisterous big salad with capers, rocket and just about every other form of edible greenery was swiftly cleared as were the perfectly cooked skewers of pork and chicken. I readily confess to having made a return visit sharing this time a lunch of chateaubriand with some English customers who had pre ordered this meat treat - a luscious, thick cut from the tenderloin served with a reduced sauce of white wine and shallots moistened with demi glace and mixed with butter, tarragon and lemon juice, rendered all at the table speechless with pleasure.
It's that kind of place - a chateau-B going down a treat at one table and at the next a dish of pourgouri with seasoned chicken pieces being equally relished. It really doesn't matter what you eat here, the same level of passion and quality ingredients are packed into every dish; this is a place where serious kitchen nous is happening.
SPECIALITY Cypriot cuisine with a European twist
WHERE Lalades, Kouklia village, 6 GrivaDigeni
PRICE from €15 upwards
WHEN open lunch and dinner.
CONTACT +35726 432233 (it's a small place so book for evenings)