By Sarah Coyne
Last weekend, we grabbed the opportunity to head for the cooler climes of Amargeti, just 30 minutes from Paphos. If you ignore the signs for Amargeti village, you will find the Spring of Life Forever restaurant standing proudly on the left with some vintage cars parked in the small car park.
It is so much more than just a restaurant. The family runs a winery and microbrewery from this stone property and produces award-winning olive oils. Upon entering the building, all the products are displayed for sale. The large interior will be the perfect winter dining retreat because of the enormous log burner. The whole place has a traditional feel with wooden beams and check table clothes but with the warm temperatures, there was only one place we wanted to sit: the terrace. This is large with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, which seem to go on and on. A huge grapevine provides shade.
The restaurant opened in 2008, and today the hosts, Constantina and Costas, are still at the helm. Costas is front of house and Constantina is in the kitchen. Her authentic Cypriot cooking reflects family recipes passed down from generation to generation. The menu is divided into six starters, side dishes, vegetarian, sandwiches, brunch, pasta, fish, family-recommended dishes and main grilled meats. The House Meze is available as a complete meal or mini version. Speciality dishes include Moussaka, Stifado, Beef Liver, Chicken with a Lemon and Honey Sauce and Goat Kleftiko.
Our table of three decided to share a starter of Feta Mushrooms. This arrived with a plate of the most wonderful Sesame Bread and a bowl of their award-winning olive oil. Constantina had just made the bread, one of the most excellent traditional loaves I have ever had in Cyprus. The mushrooms filled with feta, tomato and oregano made the perfect simple start to our meal, and were more than enough to share.
Following, the Moussaka was full of herbs and spices and definitely one of the family archived recipes. It was made with pork mince together with the usual aubergines, potatoes and zucchini. Another speciality on the menu which, according to Costas, had been made that day, was the Stifado. This arrived at the table with salad and chips and was quickly demolished. Sometimes, this dish can be a little fatty, but the meat was excellent and high-quality. The flavours of cinnamon and cumin permeated the meat, and our only minor complaint was that it could have been a larger portion. But then the recipient was very hungry and really enjoyed his choice! The final main dish, Beef Liver, was declared the real winner. The generous portion of liver had been grilled and then finished in the pan with onions and rosemary.
To accompany our lunch, we were lucky enough for everyone’s desires to be taken care of by Mastros, the onsite family winery and microbrewery. For the wine lover, there is an excellent dry red priced at an incredible €12. This paired very well with the Cypriot food and had a lot of body. There are also two beers available, a Bitter and an India Pale Ale. We enjoyed our drinks so much that we brought a supply of beer and red wine home.
You don’t just come to the Spring of Life to eat, it is for the whole experience. The hosts, the views, the history and their unique products all contribute to the enjoyment of your visit. The charming and friendly hosts are keen to share their family history of which they are justifiably proud. There is an array of products for sale in addition to the wines and the beers, including olive oil, vinegar, carob oil, jams, bottled fruits and liqueurs.
There weren’t any desserts available on the day we visited. However, a selection of spoon sweets was served with a massive bunch of grapes cut from their terrace vine – more than enough for anyone with a sweet tooth.
SPECIALTY Traditional Cypriot
WHERE E606 Chrysorrogiatissa 31, Amargeti, Paphos
WHEN Monday to Saturday 8am to 11pm. Sunday 8am to 10pm
CONTACT 26 723212 – Booking advised
HOW MUCH Main courses from €9.50