Old & New
I was invited by my good friend Kyp to Casa Mespilea in old town Paphos to catch him play Sitar … at first it just looked like a traditional old town house, but as I walked in, I immediately knew this was going to be very interesting. The fusion of old and new in the lobby somehow worked, old restored stone walls, high oak beamed ceilings, with full length gorgeous panelled glass doors and a selection of furniture in no particular order, and an infusion of orange and lemon essential oils excited my senses … at that point I still hadn’t realised this was going to be one of my favourite finds in my 30 years in Cyprus!
As I walked through to the garden terrace I knew my first impressions were spot on … leaning towards bohemian in style, a spacious cobbled court yard, tables and chairs, shaded by mature fruit trees; Loquat, aka mespilea, oranges, lemons, mandarins, olives, and carob trees, and almost ready to eat grapes hanging on vines, a perfect representation of authentic Cyprus, and at the back a terracotta painted wall, presenting a run of doors, that I discovered were rooms to let, inside architecturally designed with an obvious passion by owners, Costas and Yioula …
The wonderful Yioula, welcomed me, reminding me I’ve known her since my magazine days, when she worked at the C.T.O. offices in Paphos, oh, my first glass of rose wine, was delicious btw … I asked her why Casa Mespilea? … She said “that her great-grandfather built the family house back in 1890 and planted a Mespilea tree in the garden so they called it the house of Mespilea” … and btw the whole team here are just on another level of hospitality!
I asked Yioula to tell me more, she said; “Maria Hose and I have been friends for 30 years, together we have created a menu, traditional but not, it’s totally unique, partly influenced by her yiayia, a fusion of Greek, Cypriot and Spanish cuisine, but she assured me none of the dishes you’ll find anywhere else, because they are the creation of their imagination, using always fresh high quality produce, from the villages of Ineia, Miliou, Letymbou, Akaki, Agros, Drouseia, Akamas, Mani, Lesbos and Limbos, and everything is cooked to order, nothing is pre-prepared and always around her flavours, aromas and essences of Cyprus, that she uses to compliment every dish … oh, and if she had her way, she would change the menu every day” … So do look out for their daily specials and make sure you leave room for dessert!
Taking a look at the menu, you just know this place is unique, for starters the artichokes, with Brie and crushed smoke pork sounded unusual and delicious … The fig salad served with village halloumi and sweet sesame croutons in carob honey, garnished with walnuts, something you’d expect your papoo to eat for breakfast … The Spanish & Cypriot Tortilla, curious … but I tried the Gazpacho cold soup with exotic spices and smoked pork OMG!!! … oh, next time it has to be the Chorizo swimming in wine … I can’t wait!
I knew it was going to be hard to choose a main course … from the homemade pasta with seasoned smoke loin, or veal, or traditional pork meat from Mani that sounded and looked delightful but reading on … maybe the Kebab submerged in the sea of Morocco, laid on bread with homemade garlic mayonnaise at only €3 per spike sounded a bargain … The Lunatic Shrimps on black homemade pasta, maybe next time … because the Fine Beef Fillet laid on a layer of multicoloured bio quinoa with avocado and pomegranate, garnished with avocado oil sounded to irresistible too resist … oh and their occasional events and Live Music nights are not to be missed …
The selection of wines from exemplary wineries in Cyprus and Greece perfectly selected to compliment every dish on this extraordinary menu … Wineries include Tsalapatis, of Polemi village fame at an altitude of 463 metres … Ezouza Winery of Kannaviou Village at 330 mtrs .. Makarounas Boutique Winery of Letymbou Village at an altitude of 400 metres, the Minthi Rose just hit my taste buds omg and finally Tselepos Winery, in Tegea-Arkadias Peloponnese at an Altitude of 750 metres, the Dryopi Nemea Red just became one of my faves … oh and the coffee, fresh ground Brazilian!
The accommodation is wonderful, 14 rooms, sleeping up to 4 people, each named after a fruit, all meticulously designed by Costas, who was once listed on the One Hundred Wall Paper Architects, each with its on style, comfortable and practical, and a dream to stay in … Yioula and Costas also host weddings, corporate events and Parties, providing a personalised catering service to make it an extra special day …
I could write about this place all night, the perfect balance of Cyprus and Spain from this duo Yioula from Paphos, and Maria from Madrid in the kitchen, the attention offered by the crew and the architectural element instilled by Costa who told me so much about the place and it’s history and how they brought the derelict old into the architecturally designed new, but one thing is for sure, I have to say this is an extraordinary eaterie that you really, really must visit! Oh, and don’t worry if you have to travel to get there because the hotel rooms are also a perfect complement to the whole dining experience … Check out their Trip Advisor reviews here …
Open all year
Daily 11 am ‘til 3 pm for coffee, brunch and lunch
Dinner served from 7.30 pm ‘til 11 pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Hotel is open 24/7
You’ll find them at 3, Pygmalonos, Old Town Paphos close to Café Nero … Opposite the Government offices … with ample parking nearby, see map below …
GPS: 34.776963, 32.420081
Without a doubt one of my favourite discoveries!