By Nan Mackenzie
No one is ever going to describe a typical meze as delivering much in the way of gastronomic delights. Some modern tavernas do dare to come out of the traditional closet to produce innovative dishes and bravo to them but eating out at one’s local a tavern is generally much more of a social choice, it’s a place to meet friends, to experience a sense of wellbeing, to enjoy the establishment’s hospitality.
Tavernas are places where wine and beer bottles sort of mysteriously pile up and one often forgets to even sample some of the myriad of different dishes that seem to cover every inch of the table. The great thing is it’s a fun eating experience which should offer solid, rustic appeal that both sooths the soul and satisfies the appetite.
Fettas is a proper traditional Cyprus Taverna. There is nothing fancy going on here, the place looks exactly the same as it did when I first visited 12 years ago, when it was the father who was ‘grill master’, a vital role now passed to his son.
One huge selling point is the location; in the old town just down from the Town hall, set on the corner. The interior is the winter venue and during summer/autumn dining is all outdoors with tables lining the pavement area with a grassy strip of park land behind that is even host to a cool municipal fountain tinkling away in the background.
The evening I went, my nephew and I were entertained by an English couple on a ten-day holiday, it turned out they were into day four of an all-inclusive hotel but had bravely broken free from the regime and for the past two days had eaten at Fettas.
As the evening progressed it was clear that this young couple had instigated a sort of culinary mutiny with other ‘all inclusive’ guest from the same hotel guiltily greeting each other, then pulling up chairs to enthusiastically sample proper Cypriot soul food.
Some opted for the fish meze, one lot were happy with the array of vegetarian dishes, but we stuck to a meat meze that kicked off with salad, then a parade of plates arrived bearing the usual suspects – porgouri, halloumi with Lounza, a selection of dips including Tirokafteri (spicy cheese dip), then on to the grill master’s main role with good juicy Sheftalia, pork kebab, lamb chops and chicken, followed by chunks of beef liver, then some excellent tasty little meat balls plus a generous helping of mousaka.
With all the chatter, laughter and as an added bonus a lovely man serenading us with his bouzouki, not forgetting a vigorous testing of local wines all going on, then the accidental dousing of my notebook with a good measure of Plakota (red wine) the rest of the meal sort of fades as far as listing other specific dishes. In the end it is when coupled with a bill that doesn’t send the heart racing, that makes eating out at Fettas a truly happy experience all round.
SPECIALTY Traditional Cypriot dishes
WHERE Fettas Tavern, Ionni Agroti 33, Paphos
CONTACT 26 937822 or 99 586099
PRICE meat meze €17
WHEN closed Sundays