A sophisticated take on the traditional lido

This resort in Kappara offers a distinctively sophisticated take on the traditional lido, setting itself apart from other bustling poolside venues in Malta

The damp and drizzly weather is no more and now this time of the year is calling for plenty of shots of heat to enliven things up… and cocktail in hand followed by a dip in the pool to freshen up.

As I was looking for a nice way to spend a weekday off and break the monotony of the working week, a day by the pool with my best friend on a Tuesday sounded like a rather inviting prospect, especially when the venue in question was Urban Valley Resort and Spa.

We were both looking forward to get a break from our daily routine, bask in the sun and catch up on our tan in such a unique surrounding.  Urban Valley is a hidden gem located in the heart of Wied Ghollieqa, a unique nature reserve in Kappara. Its unique setting offers a sense of tranquility, away from the hustle and bustle of the city… this is exactly what I needed and the ideal kick off to my Summer.

The resort offers two pool areas but since all I do is constantly think about food, we opted for the sun loungers by the pool next to the TRI Bistro … I would much rather be tanning with the restaurant in sight and was already thinking about what to devour at lunch time. But first: one of their signature cocktails and a good book.

As the clock struck twelve, we made our way to the bistro. There are a variety of dishes to choose from like fresh salads such as Asian tuna, coronation chicken, Mexican beef and vegetarian, as well as a selection of flatbread, pasta and meats. There’s a great burger too – the in-house beef burger with bacon chutney and mature cheddar.

The restaurant also offers gluten-free and vegan options. In fact, to start, we tried something a little bit different: panna cotta made from cauliflower and elderflower – a creative plant-based savoury take on the traditional Italian favourite… simply delicious and hard to come by.

When it came to choosing my main, I was torn between a fresh salad or something a bit more filling like their wild boar ravioli or tuna risotto. In fact, I opted for the latter. Risotto has always been one of my favourite dishes.  I love eating it and so I order it often when I’m dining out… vegetarian or meaty, if it’s risotto, I’m ordering it.  Having said this, I do consider myself to be a risotto snob. It’s such a simple dish that it becomes incredibly apparent when it’s been prepared wrong. It’s all about the texture of the rice; somewhere in between soupy and sticky, like a thick porridge. All I can say is that Head Chef Chris Tonna nailed the right cooking time for the rice because this plate of risotto was all I could ever ask for.

Now, when it comes to tuna, I am a big fan and its addition not only added a touch of fanciness to the risotto but also made the meal even more hearty and satisfying. And even though fresh tuna can be a bit dull sometimes, the addition of fresh herbs like marjoram as well as the ginger and chili gave the dish a delicious flavour. My needs for some creamy goodness were indeed satisfied, my needs for a Summer body… not so much.
My friend, being the disciplined one, opted for the Mexican beef salad. The sous vide steak was cooked to perfection: crispy on outside, moist on the inside and dressed with lemon olive oil and white wine. It also featured ripe creamy avocado slices on a generous bed of crunchy salad leaves.

We may have felt stuffed, but did you know that the stomach is a flexible organ? And who leaves a restaurant without ordering dessert, anyway? Certainly not us.

We indulged in a portion of lemon cheese cake before making our way back to our sun loungers.

The menu had quite a few interesting options for both cocktails and mocktails, of which we tried not one or two but four during our stay at the Urban Valley… Oh what a day it was.

Urban Valley Resort offers a distinctively sophisticated take on the traditional lido, setting itself apart from the other bustling poolside venues in Malta. I was told non-residents have a choice of seasonal or day memberships. Visit their website for more information… I’m signing up for one as I write this. See you there!

TRI Bistro at Urban Valley

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Triq Wied Ghollieqa, Kappara

2138 5926