By Tracy Roth-Rotsas
With the sudden opening of a saturation of restaurants, bars and nightspots along the eastern coast as the summer sun becomes stronger, to lure in customers venues in Ayia Napa and Protaras are required to do far more than simply provide food, drinks or music. Blue Spice Restaurant is more than just a place serving tasty food. There is a pool (quite a large one) as well as a separate kiddie splash pool – with a grassy garden area and sunbeds, just a short stroll from the beach. Upstairs, there are two self-catering apartments. Downstairs, there is an art gallery, a sizeable restaurant overlooking the pool, and a separate specialty pizza restaurant. And on Thursday nights, a live rock band performs (in English)! Enough?
The restaurant itself is open long hours – early morning until very late at night, and the menu covers breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner so is quite comprehensive. The décor is homely but busy: hearts, beads and other trinkets hang from the roof and light-fittings while signs declaring ‘Happiness begins….’ are propped around. At night, string lights and coloured bulbs hanging from oversized umbrellas reflect off the pool to provide a lovely ambience. Quite a few staff running around means that service is pretty good so our order is taken quite quickly after we are seated.
Unable to choose between Carbonara or Bolognese pasta sauce, we opt for the entrée-sized portions of both and are greeted with plates that could be mistaken for mains. We also order some garlic bread which arrives in the form of pizza and while it tastes very nice, I tend to prefer the crispness of baked bread. The pasta, however, is perfectly cooked and the sauces rich and very flavoursome: a creamy carbonara with hefty chunks of smokey meat and a juicy, meaty Bolognese, so we are off to a good start.
Next, we choose a seafood platter: prawns, calamari, fish fillets, mussels, chips, and salad – it’s a king’s platter and also cooked extremely well: the fillets fall apart with a push of the fork, the calamari is not at all rubbery, the prawns are juicy, and the mussels are not dried out at all. The chips are crisp and light, and the salad is fresh, so despite being a larger meal, it’s not a heavy one, allowing us to continue to dessert!
There are a lot of options for dessert: their famed pineapple cheesecake, chocolate souffle, apple pie, carrot cake and tiramisu along with a plethora of ice-cream flavours and sundaes, both alcoholic (Baileys) and not. It’s a tough choice but we opt for a chocolate souffle and banana sundae. Admittedly, my idea of the souffle is different from what appears – I imagine a hot, fluffy, almost mousse-like dessert – but that is not to say it wasn’t delicious. The portion is quite a bit smaller and more cupcake-come-lavacake-like than I expect but so rich and indulgent that I am relieved it isn’t any bigger or I wouldn’t have been able to finish it off! It is complemented beautifully by the ice-cream. The banana sundae comes as expected, with chunks of banana, caramel and vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream, a drizzle of topping, and a wafer.
The next morning arrives and we choose to have English breakfast – a wise choice as it’s fabulous value for just over €4! In addition to the standard eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, baked beans and toast we also ordered French Toast which is not often on offer – much to my daughter’s delight!
Morning teatime and a chance to taste more desserts: the infamous pineapple cheesecake and carrot cake. Disappointingly the cheesecake is so fresh it’s nearly falling apart on the plate and slightly flavourless. Upon mentioning this, we are not charged and the entire cheesecake is removed and replaced. The carrot cake, though, is moist, fresh, and scrumptious!
We stay for lunch… wood oven pizzas? Head and shoulders above the “normal” ones. Crisp and tasty.
For a full day experience, you really can’t go past the Blue Spice. Take the kids. Relax. Have a cocktail. Or pizza. Or dessert. Or pop to the beach. The choice is yours.
WHERE Blue Spice Restaurant, 29 Aphrodite Street, Pernera
WHEN Daily, early morning to late at night
CONTACT 23 832088, www.bluespicerestaurant.com
HOW MUCH entrée/salad: €5-10; mains: €10-15 (steaks: from €16): pizzas: €8-11