Return to Klepini Restaurant
It was still Christmas at Klepini with loads of colourful
decorations and twinkling lights
Having been into Arapköy many times in the past on business it was a great surprise to me recently that when I ventured into the village to show a friend the sights, we went to the Klepini Restaurant and sat with the owner and locals and had a refreshing drink during the heat of the day and were encouraged to sample some of the home cooked delights of stuffed vine leaves with coffee and then figs from their garden, what lovely hospitality.
Not only the locals and staff are warm and welcoming, but also the decor in the restaurant with the beautifully laid out tables and at one end of the very large room, there is a stone fireplace. All of this was enhanced with a lovely Christmas tree, twinkling lights and masses of decorations and for those history buffs, there was also fascinating memorabilia on display. Every day is celebration day at Klepini!
So having been tempted by the owner Gonca, a table was booked and we returned on Sunday evening and selected the Soğuk (cold) 21 Mezeler dishes which were mostly vegetarian with a sun-dried meat dish which I consumed with great relish with lovely fresh bread. We had the option of 4 Sıcak (hot) Mezeler dishes which we did not order and it was just as well because we were so full with the cold meze, we could hardly move.
They have a great selection of wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks to tempt all palates and having made our choice this was followed up with coffee and yes more tempting samples offered by Gonca with figs and melon from her garden, she tries so hard to please and cooks splendid Turkish style meals with daily traditional home cooked dishes as well. The menu is really mind-blowing and has been well set out in English.
The restaurant is owned by Gonca and Cevdet Tombul, they live in Lefkoşa and travel every day to Arapköy to run their restaurant. They bought the land in Arapköy some 5 years ago and Cevdet built the restaurant himself. Gonca took me up onto the roof which is a huge area and although the restaurant area is totally completed there are one or two rooms at the back of the building which still need to be finished off. Gonca and Cevdet have a son Ibrahim and a grandson and their daughter Gőzde helps out in the restaurant. Gőzde speaks English so she is an asset for their English-speaking customers. Gonca said they also have many Russian customers. Cevdet and Ibrahim go fishing every Monday which is something they really enjoy together and Gonca was very anxious for us to meet her little grandson when he next comes to the restaurant so we will be making another visit in the near future.
Sunday evening there were many customers so all of the staff had to work extremely hard but were still attentive to all of their customers. The menu at Klepini is very extensive so there is plenty to choose from. The bill for the evening, including cold drinks and one brandy, was extremely inexpensive for the amount of food we consumed. The staff are very friendly, attentive and welcoming, it really is a nice taste of North Cyprus hospitality and well worth a visit.
You really get the feeling of village life here with the local residents wandering by with their children and one or two locals sitting outside the restaurant for a drink and a chat and generally watching the world go by.