29 June 2013

Being an Estate Agent in Corfu

Not every day turns out to be how you imagine. A recent client had asked to see several large villas on the north east side of the island, so I had prepared and dressed for an up-market kind of outing. It started out very well - a glossy magazine style villa was first on the list - wonderful location, designer "dressed" by its owner with a selection of one-off items of furniture and co-ordinating colour schemes throughout. Our second stop, however, was at Villa Paskalya - almost on the sea, with footpath access to a virtually private beach, and I was expecting more of the same. The key had been left - according to an earlier arrangement - in a plant pot next to the front door, so imagine my surprise when, upon arrival at the villa, the sight that met my eyes did not include the possibility of "next" to the front door as an option for a hidden key - quite apart from the huge chasm between the drive and our only access to the villa.  I am quite sure that the man who recently crossed the Grand Canyon on a length of wire would have remained undaunted, but I - in my smart estate agent gear, don't forget - was extremely daunted!  A search of all plant pots that could be remotely described as being next to the front door eventually revealed the key, but the plank-walking access to the villa remained our only option to view the property. Luckily - how extremely luckily - one of the gentlemen clients sprung to the rescue and volunteered to walk the plank, providing one of us stood on the nearest end to stabilize the wobble. With one person finally inside, it was an easy matter for him to open a balcony door on the seaward side of the villa so that the rest of us could get inside. Thank you a million times (William, you know who you are, and I forgot to ask if you were once a Boy Scout!). 

Villa Paskalya is on the market - fully refurbished with new windows in the basement (hence the chasm that had been dug) and a brand-new dining room extension - for €1,650,000. Please click on the link to see what the villa really looks like.

3 June 2013

A new favourite restaurant

I have to say that generally in my part of the island there are plenty of good restaurants but after a while the meals, whilst excellent, can seem a bit predictable.  (We always seem to order the same particular dishes depending on which restaurant we are in such as swordfish at Prasoudi, squid in Boukari, meatballs at 75 Steps, pepper steaks at Zac's etc.) This saturday we ventured onto literally our own doorstep, around 200m from our apartments in Moraitika, to a restaurant which opened during the 2012 season but where somehow we never got around to going.

"Lava Grill" is the new project of Makis Kritikos, past owner of the Courti Estate and well known years ago for his superb restaurant set in the gardens of the Courti Manor House. After a long spell in England, Makis has returned home to Corfu and opened a restaurant featuring classic Greek cooking, yet with an imaginative with a twist to make it just a bit more interesting. And it is! Grilled mushrooms, aubergine baked with mince and cheese, tender chargrilled calf's liver with a side of bacon and onions, and a wonderful seafood spaghetti. Next week we'll go an try something else, maybe piri piri chicken, prawns or stifado en croute, who knows?