NAN MACKENZIE reviews where to go in Paphos for a truly festive lunch
Festive feasting always seems to taste better if someone else has cooked it, so this review is aimed at those who would rather stab themselves in the eye with a festive trinket than try and pan fry their Brussels sprouts with purple basil and pomegranate, or, be forced into working up a sweat presenting a turkey.
The three establishments selected have a reputation for excellence and will certainly not disappoint, unlike my last Christmas experience at a hotel in London where chef micro-waved the mince pies so the filling was the same temperature as the sun. So relax, forget the shopping, just phone, book your table and leave the sweating to the professionals.
Christmas Eve dinner at the Elysium
Executive Chef Savvas Savva has created a stunning menu for the Ristorante Bacco for its here in this rather lovely setting the foodie festivities kick off on Christmas Eve.
This is a sit down dinner with silver service so one can relax and be waited upon with the glorious Savva special of Foie gras with wild duck bresaola paired with a gingerbread and granny smith apple jelly which has to be a combo truly made in taste bud heaven. This is followed by a mushroom cappuccino, with pheasant confit, then onto the delicacy provided by caramelised sea scallops, then crispy fried langoustine with crab bisque. Guests can then dig into a moorish medallion of monkfish with lobster risotto before loosening waistbands to relish the loin of venison set in a sea of black truffle sauce and a blackberry coulis, not forgetting the vegetable platter with lashings of new potatoes. Puddings and coffee follow.
Price: €93 per person
Where: Elysium Hotel
To book: Tel: 26 844444, www.elysium.com.cy
Christmas Day Lunch at the Annabelle
This is a stunning buffet offering such a wide range of foodie delights that it would be a very picky and probably deeply boring person who doesn’t relish at least half of the 45 dishes on offer.
Starting with perfectly poached salmon, and lobster and prawn terrine, or a slice of delicious rabbit terrine. Here the salad selection is always first class, this time artichokes, mussels, prawns, asparagus, and smoked trout are the stars. The carvery is of course the station everyone visits to pay homage to the turkey with chestnut stuffing, but, probably more folk will be keen to opt for the roast suckling pig or a hearty wedge of roast beef, for those with ‘gamey’ taste buds then head for the Pheasant Royal. There is duck with figs and pears in Orange sauce, and for the fish lovers, a fillet of sea bass with lemon grass herb sauce. Not forgetting all the trimmings such as buttered Brussels, broccoli and carrots, there are also pasta dishes for the youngsters.
No doubt the Annabelle pastry chef will have had to go lie down in a darkened room after creating his 15 puddings including Christmas pud, and cake, the gooey lush chocolate cake, plus his proper tasty (non third degree burn) mince pies, and for anyone with room left there is a cheese platter with fresh fruit. The latter then makes everything okay as by then you will have certainly consumed your five a day in some form or another.
Price: €55 (€28 for children)
Where: Annabelle Hotel
To book: Tel: 26 885000, www.thanoshotels.com
Christmas Day at Elea Estate
John Kouphou is the master in charge at the Elea estate kitchen and to be honest he could serve me tortoise toes marinated in iguana with a lime and chilli sauce and I would still eat it, as every dish this man creates is truly first class, brimming full of quality and clever cooking.
On Christmas day guests will sit down to enjoy a lavish buffet, starting with a chilled seafood selection including oysters, Scottish salmon, then Duck breast with marjoram vinaigrette, veal roasted with a herb sauce and a marbled terrine of foie gras and prawns with tarragon. The selection continues with carpaccio of beef in truffle oil vinaigrette, dolmades of roast duck and foi gras plus John’s magnificent Sushi selection and that’s just the starters.
After the Lobster bisque its onto the mains with black pepper lamb chops, tamarind glazed prawns, Pheew running out of space here… then it’s the carvery where its Norfolk turkey and Australian roast beef are on offer, and if you have any space left for pudding then very good luck to you!.
Price: €65 per person
Where: Elea Estate
To book: Tel: 26 202003, www.eleaestate.com
In addition all three establishments offer special menus for Boxing day, New Years eve and New Years day Lunch.