Thursday, April 25, 2013

Will You Marry Me?

A reader once asked me to recommend a fancy restaurant where he could comfortably and confidently get down on one knee before his longtime girlfriend. For a moment, I thought of my own marriage proposal to The Wife, Ph.D., which, depending on who you ask, involved either a stingy long-distance phone call to Cyprus from Ecuador or a scrapbook in Quito's majestic La Compañia church with a string quartet rehearsing on a stage set by the golden altar. "If I ever had to do it again...I mean, renew our vows...and had to pick as venue a restaurant in Nicosia," I told him, "I would choose 1900 Oinou Melathron, the French-inspired bistro tucked away in one of Laiki Geitonia's uncrowded side streets."

Will you marry me?

If what you want is romance, privacy, impeccable service, an imaginative menu and (arguably) Cyprus's best wine list, look no further. This small, intimate restaurant exudes sophistication—hardwood floors, ornate chandeliers, cornflower blue chaises and sofas, long rectangular mirrors, heavy dark drapes framing the windows, a large painting of elegant women seductively staring at the diners. Each table is candlelit and has a champagne bucket on standby. A bar and counter area at the back of the room exhibit large empty bottles of wine and champagne. Upstairs, a few bottles of Chateau Petrus wink at oenophiles from behind the glass cellar wall, and a private dining room awaits distinguished guests.

Aged Cheese Tart with Red Onion Jam

First off, the wine selection shines bright. On our last visit, The Wife, Ph.D., and I drank the 2007 Quinta do Portal Colheita Tinto, a red blend from the Douro in Portugal that bursts with ripe red fruit flavors and runs at around 30 Euros. However, vinous possibilities are endless as the wine list is made up of over six thousands bottles that comprehensively cover both the Old and New World. This includes lauded Bordeaux First Growths, Super Tuscans, Barolos, Burgundy Grand Crus and Napa Valley Cabernets, among dozens of other styles and vintages. Prices range from 20 Euros to "On Request," which means you better be damn sure you want to share a queen-sized bed with her until death does you part because it's going to cost you a kidney in the black market. Goes without saying, though, it isn't a challenge to find a pleasant and affordable wine to match your food of choice with the help of the establishment's resident wine experts.

Chicken Dressed Up in Chorizo

The food too is impressive. Salads, risottos, fresh handmade pastas, a selection of grilled steaks, and seafood, all touched up with a dash of creativity, are on offer. Last time there, we split the cream of aged cheese and crunchy biscuit with red onion jam, a pie of sorts that played the sweet-slash-savory game with the same expertise shown by Little Miss Despot when gnawing on Sophie The Giraffe. Rich and indulgent, the appetizer could have easily been served as a dessert and was the undisputed star of the night. As our main course, The Wife, Ph.D., had the grilled fresh Norwegian salmon with fennel salad, asparagus and orange reduction, while I had a stuffed chicken breast with a creamy chorizo sauce and garlicky potato puree. Both were simple yet well executed, the chorizo lending a nice kick of spice to the chicken and the fennel complementing orange in the only way, well, fennel can. For dessert, we used the same spoon—a romantic gesture on my part—to share the chocolate souffle with mastic ice cream, sesame seed candy and caramelized hazelnuts, dramatically presented as two luscious edible nests.

Nests for Dessert

I never found out from my reader whether he took his unsuspecting girlfriend to 1900 and popped the question. Wherever he did, though, I just hope she said yes and he didn't have to sell any body parts to hirsute, tattooed traffickers for that celebratory bottle of Dom Perignon. Wherever he is, cheers on behalf of the blog.

Whine On The Rock's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Sparkling Spatulas


Unknown said...

Hey Mateo, great post! really whet my appetite!

Mateo Jarrin Cuvi said...

Thanks, George! Glad you enjoyed it. Great little restaurant.

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