Many of us are drawn to Paphos old town to socialise, as it’s now a wonderful place to enjoy a stroll along the newly renovated streets or visit one of the bars, restaurants or cafés that are popping up on almost every corner. Ambiance restaurant and cocktail bar had only been open a few days before my visit, so I was prepared for a possible raft of teething problems. But I was pleasantly surprised that there were none. Instead, the food, service, extensive drinks list and staff were all spot on and attention to detail undertaken in the creation of the somewhat bijou venue, is splendid.
We were met with a friendly greeting at the door (we had booked ahead) by smartly dressed staff and shown to our table. A handful of tables are placed at the front on Makarios Avenue (now pedestrianised) for smokers and those wishing to people watch.
However, our table was inside and as we took our seats, me on a comfy banquette, my companion on an equally commodious chair opposite, we took in the atmosphere. Ambiance is a good name for this space as the owners have crafted just that. Trendy, stylish and well lit, complete with two chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and well cared for greenery, the eye is drawn to the compact, but well stocked, gleaming and super tidy bar at the end of the room.
All sorts of cocktails, both classic and signature, a list of 99 gin combinations, a well-chosen wine list, coffees, teas and non-alcoholic beverages are all offered. And as with the food, only the best quality of ‘anything’ is used.
Tables are filling up fast, even though it is just after 7pm and the atmosphere is already buzzing. The clientele is a mish-mash of old, young and middle-aged, variety of nationalities and a holiday maker or two. There is a great, friendly vibe here.
We order cocktails to get the evening underway, a classic margarita and a Good Morning Sunshine (€8.50), both were superb. We followed this with a glass of Botega Gold Prosecco (€7) each.
Our interest is piqued as we both carefully read the eclectic choice of starters (also recommended for ‘sharers’ too). They include: mini burgers, sambuca mussels, chorizo prawns, stuffed portobello mushrooms, ‘peaky blinder’ chicken, an aubergine tower, steak sandwich and chicken baguette, but we opt to share Maki croquettes (€9), as neither of us had tried them this way before.
Six pieces of maki with salmon and crab arrived, accompanied by sweet and sour sauce and wakame salad. It was enjoyable and well presented.
For our main course, I tried the sea bass fillet stuffed with black tiger prawns (€19), red pepper and spices, saffron sauce, baby potatoes and salad. It was delicious. My companion opted for the porcini ravioli (€14) – fresh and stuffed with marscapone and porcini mushrooms, cooked in a sauce with four different mushrooms and truffle, and raved about the taste.
Other mains include a popular Rib eye fillet steak served with carrot puree, baked vegetables and a choice of sauces. Lamb chops (marinated with orange and mint) come with seasonal puree, vegetables and a red wine sauce.
Salmon fillet with an aromatic crust, free range chicken, pork chops and the Ambiance naked burger are also on the menu. Salads, which are large, interesting and fresh were popular with a neighbouring table full of teenagers as were the pizzas and pastas.
A simple choice of sumptuous desserts are priced at either €5 or €6 and include apple crumble with ice cream, dark chocolate cake with ice cream and strawberry pavlova.
If you prefer to make wine or a cocktail the star of the show, platters to share are a good idea to ensure you don’t stagger out at the end of the night. Antipasti, cheese and fruit platters are all priced at €14.
Open only a few weeks, Ambiance is a special venue with tasty dishes, moreish cocktails and attentive staff. I just hope that customers do their bit and continue to support this new venture which really is an attractive asset for Paphos.
WHERE Ambiance Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, Makarios Avenue Paphos (just off Kennedy Square)
WHEN Monday-Thursday 6pm-midnight, Friday and Saturday 6pm-1.30am
CONTACT 26 220999 or 99 524000, Ambiance on Facebook