By Sarah Coyne
Sometimes we just feel like treating ourselves to something special with no occasion and this is exactly what we did when we went to the signature restaurant at the Annabelle Hotel in Paphos. The Amorosa is positioned by the side pool at the hotel with views over the gardens and beyond. It is almost hidden away. Most of the guests on the night we dined there were hotel guests, but as a local it was lovely to savour the atmosphere and feel that we too were on holiday in this luxury hotel, even if it was just for a few hours.
We started with drinks in the bar of the restaurant which were expertly served by friendly and discreet staff. Our guest was very late arriving but we enjoyed the peace and quiet of this area.
The menu in the restaurant is not huge, but all is cooked and prepared by the expert team led by executive chef Laurent Brun. He has been the French executive chef at the Annabelle since 2017 and his style of cooking takes me back to the superb food of the London restaurant Bibendum in its heyday. Chef Brun himself comes from a background of working in Michelin starred restaurants and has worked with the well-known chefs Joel Robuchon and Jacques Maximin. He has worked all over the world and his arrival back in Cyprus where he worked previously at the Anassa is most certainly the Annabelle’s gain.
When our guest finally arrived we were shown through to our table by pool. This is where I have to mention the only negative of the evening. The lack of lighting around the tables made the whole atmosphere very dark and we could genuinely not see our dining companions or indeed the amazing food. One has to feel sorry for the chefs in the kitchen who must put all that effort into the presentation of the food, only for it not to be seen. During the evening to take a phone call I had to leave the table. On my return, the relief I felt when I sat back down at the correct, original table was huge – thank goodness I hadn’t gate-crashed the table of a honeymooning couple enjoying a romantic meal. It really was that dark.
For our appetisers we selected and shared. The wild seabass tartare with black radish, nori and finger lime caviar and ponzu mayonnaise was an excellent combination of flavours. The men at the table particularly enjoyed the other two starters of Home Espelette cured Wagyu beef sirloin with avocado, shimegi and pickled daikon and duck foie gras two ways, with marbled red berries compote, pan fired with nuts and beetroot caramel. Superb, exceptional with the perfect balance of flavours.
Our main courses were equally impressive with caramelised Sablefish with white miso, cauliflower puree with a hint of maple syrup and wild mushroom jus. Unusual combinations for fish but it worked. The roasted corn-fed chicken with black truffle sauce was declared by our guest to be one of the best chicken dishes he had tasted for years. As was the Charolais beef tenderloin medallion served with braised beef cheek ravioli.
There is a choice of four desserts and we managed to demolish three of them digging into each other’s plates. I have to say that I think I struck lucky with a Valrhona chocolate sable tart with a mixed chocolate cremeux.
The whole experience of eating here is excellent on every level – apart from the aforementioned lack of lighting. But if you want to look 20 years younger on a romantic dinner for two – this is the place for you.
SPECIALTY fine dining
WHERE Amorosa Restaurant, Annabelle Hotel, Paphos.
WHEN Lunch 12.30-3.30 and dinner: 6.30 – 10pm
CONTACT 26 885000
HOW MUCH mains: €24 to €32