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Restaurant review: Don Carlo Italian, Paphos

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Forgetting the obvious operatic association when you say to your friends, ‘Let’s meet at Don Carlo’, you run the risk of sounding like you are in an episode of The Sopranos, but this is an Italian restaurant situated in the centre of Paphos. Don Carlo has been open for a while but has recently been taken over by a very experienced new management team. Slightly late to the party, I felt now was the right time to try it out as reports were outstanding.

Situated in a beautiful historical building, the restaurant oozes style and class from the outside. It is beautifully lit up at night, and upon entering, you can choose between two front interior rooms and an open back area. On a cold night, an internal room was preferable, with a fire roaring at one end and spaciously placed large tables. It is hard to think of a nicer restaurant interior, and I liked the relaxed vibe.

However, the experience did not start well when they produced a tablet to read the menu. I know this is the latest thing, and many restaurants do it, but I will never believe it is a suitable replacement for a paper menu which you can peruse at your leisure. It harder to review and make your selection.

A lovely and unexpected touch to start the meal was an amuse-bouche presented with a small serving of Champagne. It was a celeriac purée with a beetroot cracker. An amuse-bouche is supposed to be a message from the kitchen to let you know what is coming, but I found the purée tasteless. Of course, celeriac, by definition, is bland, so I did not let this bother me too much. Three types of warm homemade bread were also served with two olive oils.

However, a dramatic turning point occurred with the arrival of our selected starters. The Burrata was exceptional, an explosion of complementing flavours in the mouth. The whole burrata was served with sweet pickled tomatoes on the base with accompanying drops of velvet walnut cream and basil-infused oil. It was topped with a large basil cracker, and the strong colours created a work of art. We also shared a Wild Mushroom Risotto – a generous portion with the additional intensity of parmesan, garlic, and truffle echoing throughout the dish.

rest2Making your final selection from the extensive menu is hard for any Italian food lover. My dining partner zoomed in on the Premium Rack of Lamb, which was the most bountiful portion I have seen at a restaurant for a long time. Eight pieces of lamb were presented in a circle over a medley of bell pepper ratatouille and roasted vegetables with barley pearls. He declared it to be the best lamb dish he had ever had.

To experience some of their homemade pasta, I tried their Wood-Fired Cannelloni filled with Veal Loin and Cheeks. I was glad this dish was not huge. It was a very balanced dish, with the flavours of the veal not being suffocated by the three distinct sauces, which included pesto, Pomodoro and bechamel.

20231219 200750To finish, we shared two desserts from an extensive selection, both with free shots on the side. Tiramisu is an Italian classic, but I have to say I was disappointed when this one arrived at the table. It was tiny! However, the Don Carlo version was all about quality and was supreme. You would not have wanted it to be any larger as it was very, very rich with a velvety texture and worked very well with the shot of Rigoletto Bianco Liqueur. The Lemon Tart with Blackberry filling with lemon curd, meringue, sponge, honey and lemon caviar is highly recommended. With a shot of Limoncello on the side, it was the perfect conclusion to an exceptional meal.

Last month, the restaurant started opening for lunch with a new midday menu alongside the full one. Without a doubt, I will return to try this out.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

SPECIALTY Modern Italian

WHERE Don Carlo, Ioanni Agroti 40, Paphos, 8047

WHEN 12.30 to 22.30. Closed on Wednesdays.

CONTACT 26 259900 Reservations essential. New Year Dinners are available.

HOW MUCH Starters from €14, Soups from €9, Salads from €15, Pastas from €21, Main Courses from €24, Pizzas from €20, Lunch Specials from €14 and Desserts from €9

 

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