Club Ilgaz – A Mountain Retreat
I have a very high regard for Club Ilgaz where I go every month for a ladies lunch group and know I can be assured of a meal which is varied, delicious and very well presented. Chris and I joined a friend for a lunch-time meal there recently as we wanted to take the opportunity of finding out a little more about this lovely place which is set high up in the mountains in Ilgaz. On that particular day there was fish and chips on the menu and we decided on that for our lunch, our friend had told us that the batter is flavoured with beer and vodka and it certainly had an excellent taste and was crispy, as it should be. We had a starter of soup, which was delicious and by the time we had finished our main course as well, I am afraid we had no room for a dessert.
After our lunch, Chris and I settled down to talk to Sean and Sue Tutty who have run the Club Ilgaz for some 2 years now. Sean is from the Hexham area of Yorkshire and as a young man worked as a butcher for a time but then decided to take it a step further and studied at Carlisle College to become a chef working in England and he also lived in Spain for a while. Sue is from Banbury in Oxfordshire and she was a nurse in her earlier years but she always fancied living abroad and achieved her wish when she came to North Cyprus.
Sue has now lived in North Cyprus for 21 years and Sean for 17 years. They actually met here when they both worked at Rafters Restaurant in Ozanköy which is in fact our “local” restaurant. Sean told me that his parents were interested in coming to live in North Cyprus and he came to see what it was like and ended up staying himself as well. His parents still live here too.
Sean and Sue ran the Moon over the Water in the Famagusta area for 12 years and then decided to give up and take it easy, however, that was not to be. They were approached by the owner of Club Ilgaz asking them to take it on and when Sue saw the location she fell in love with it and so they decided to again venture into the world of cuisine.
Not only do they run the restaurant, they have 7 holiday cottages in the grounds which are a perfect retreat for people seeking peace and tranquillity and to get away from it all and unwind. The “Moon Spinners” cottages nestle in amongst trees and a scented garden and are very tastefully designed. Each cottage is for 2 people, there is a luxury en-suite with shower, toilet and washbasins. There is air conditioning to each cottage, fridge and tea/coffee making facilities and hair dryers are also provided. The cottages are very tastefully furnished and each has a small terrace area where guests can sit and breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the panoramic views. The cottages are designed for 2 people and Sean and Sue are sorry but they do not cater for children under the age of 12 years. Prices include a breakfast hamper.
Between the restaurant and the cottages there is a large swimming pool with a poolside bar where guests can sunbathe and swim or maybe relax with a book in this very quiet and peaceful setting.
There is a huge area on top of the main building which is very attractive although Sue told me it is not fully utilised as it is far too hot in the summer months and of course it will be too cool in the winter months. It seems a shame as it is such a lovely area but maybe not practical from a restaurant point of view.
In the restaurant itself there is a large well set out dining room and at one end there is a bar separated by a very inviting open ended fireplace with a settee area and where in the cooler months a warm glow can be seen from the dining room and the bar as the logs crackle merrily away. This is called “The Moon & Sixpence” Gastro Pub where there is a good selection of beers, wines and spirits and bar snacks or lunches are available. I am not sure who named the Gastro Pub but there is a quote by W. Somerset Maugham in 1956 “If you look at the ground in search of a sixpence you don’t look up and so miss the moon”. I rather like that. Adjoining the inside dining room there is a large covered terrace which is great for dining in the summer months with a view of the pool and the stunning mountain scenery.
So for those people who would like a relaxing break or holiday in a beautiful mountain location you would not be disappointed. Car hire can be arranged through Club Ilgaz and in this case the car hire company will organise airport collection and return. As there are no local shops and Club Ilgaz is quite a way from the main road, car hire is recommended.
By Margaret Sheard