Fine Wine Bou­tique - Ital­ian style and so­phis­ti­ca­tion in Li­mas­sol

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

since open­ing in 2009, has proved it­self as one of the most pleas­ant and sat­is­fy­ing places to buy or con­sume good wine. Ni­co­las Pro­topa­pas, who en­joyed a long and suc­cess­ful ca­reer in the ho­tel in­dus­try, pos­sesses a well-ed­u­cated palate in wines and is par­tic­u­larly adept at pair­ing them with the foods that will best en­hance their finest qual­i­ties. The shop’s spe­cial­ity is Ital­ian wine, and Ni­co­las stocks 180 dif­fer­ent la­bels, but he also car­ries a few se­lect bot­tles from France, Greece, Chile, South Africa and the US, plus top-shelf grap­pas, brandies, Pros­ec­cos and sparkling wines. He re­cently moved his theater of op­er­a­tions from the sea­side tourist area to a larger, warmer venue at 86 Spy­rou Kypri­anou (close to the Ger­ma­soigea en­trance to the A1 high­way). This will pro­vide more space for his high-end Ital­ian deli and French char­cu­terie items, plus a longer wine bar, and an in­no­va­tive boasting a de­lec­ta­ble menu of five dif­fer­ent, very fresh Moz­zarel­las, served with home­made bread, greens, cherry toma­toes and the choice of at least a dozen fine wines or Pros­ec­cos by the glass.

Af­ter six, when the shop truly shines in its dou­ble role as wine bar, the am­bi­ence is re­laxed and joy­ful, with Ni­co­las’ nat­u­ral gen­eros­ity of spirit set­ting and main­tain­ing an over­all bon vi­vant tone to the evening. Cheese plates, panini, serv­ings of tagli­ata (sliced steak), el­e­gant carpac­cio (raw, pound­ed­flat beef), ar­ti­sanal pizza and home­made tiramisu can be en­joyed on the out­side ter­race where the young (and old) so­phis­ti­cates of Li­mas­sol in­dulge in a glass or two of the most civilised of thirst quenchers. This is a place for quiet con­ver­sa­tion and the shar­ing of qual­ity wine with friends and/or ro­man­tic part­ners. There is no gi­ant plasma TV blar­ing foot­ball matches or the rant­ings of hys­ter­i­cal politi­cians or un­ruly com­men­ta­tors. 170g/6oz dried lentils, washed 1 litre / 32fl oz wa­ter 1 bay leaf 1 small chilli pep­per (or less, to taste) finely chopped

1 gar­lic clove, peeled and finely chopped

250g / 8oz peeled and chopped plum toma­toes 4 tbsp olive oil 1 medium-large peeled and sliced

155g /5oz long grain rice

red

onion,

1. In a medium-size saucepan, bring lentils and wa­ter to a rolling boil over high heat. 2. Add bay leaf, hot pep­per, gar­lic, and toma­toes. 3. Lower heat to medium-low and sim­mer, cov­ered, for about 35 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally with a wooden spoon, un­til lentils are soft­ened but not cooked through.

4. While lentils sim­mer, heat 2 ta­ble­spoons of the oil in a large heavy skil­let and saute onion un­til translu­cent.

5. When lentils are soft­ened, add rice and onions to pot and sim­mer for about 20 min­utes longer, un­til rice is cooked.

6. Add more wa­ter, if nec­es­sary, and stir oc­ca­sion­ally to keep mix­ture from stick­ing to bot­tom of pot. 7. Re­move pot from heat. 8. Dis­card bay leaf and mix in re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil. 9. Cover with a cloth for 10 to 15 min­utes to re­tain mois­ture, min­er­al­ity and sup­ple fruit flavours, but it doesn’t over­power the flavours of the chicken.

For my sec­ond dish I have adapted an In­dian cook book recipe, which uses red lentils (th­ese look or­ange un­cooked and go a golden yel­lowy-brown when cooked).

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