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Entertainment Restaurant & Bar Reviews

Restaurant review: O’Shin, Elysium Hotel, Paphos

By Nan Mackenzie
The Japanese have always been known for their sense of refinement – you see it in their art and architecture; it also extends to their cuisine with chefs able to produce beauty with the very minimum of ‘brush strokes’.
Western cuisine creates taste by adding layers of flavour, but Japanese food takes a much simpler approach, using seasonings such as miso (sweet cooking sake) and soy sauce that already incorporate ‘unami’ (savoury taste) so a skilled Japanese chef is able to find a perfect point where they all blend.
This sort of sums up the O’Shin Asian fusion experience at the Elysium hotel where one can delight in salmon, sea bass and tuna atop perfect pillows of sticky vinegared rice all set upon beautiful dishes where the food canvas employs colour, and a dish can resemble a still life with its own micro-green forest.
The overall feeling at O’Shin is of comfort, also of retreat. In the open preparation area with some serious knife work chef preps his bite size Nigrini (Sashimi appetisers) – these small but perfectly formed mouth delights created first for the Samurai who demanded something they could pop in their mouth without interrupting their playing. Here there is an intoxicating culinary combination with not only Japanese comfort food on offer, but also updated takes on traditional Japanese dishes, with some dishes displaying that enviable killer sense of pared down Japanese minimalism.
The simpler the food the harder it is to prepare it well, and here the dishes allow you to taste what it is you are eating – this goes back to the trend of fine ingredients and of preparing them simply.
Taking the Tempura test, we opted for the tiger prawns and soft shell crab served with tempura sauce – ginger radish, spring onions, coriander lemon ponzu and a creamy, finger-licking green chilli mayonnaise.
Tempura was introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries trying to convert people to Catholicism, they named it tempura referring to Ember days meaning the days when Catholics avoided meat and ate only fish or vegetables. There is a real beauty to it when done well with the exterior slightly crunchy, protecting the tenderly cooked interior and here chef managed both feats to perfection.
The O’Shin menu is a merciful testament to minimalism with a very clear description of each dish – the Nigiri selection is exceptional. There are plenty of cooked dishes for those who don’t want to go raw and you can even relish a blow torch nigri selection with beef, tuna, sea bass or salmon on offer not forgetting that melt in the mouth spicy black cod served with shitake and oyster mushrooms marinated in sake and soya sauce. If the wallet is in an expansive mood then there’s the famed Kobe Beef tenderloin or rib.

Simple dishes reflect the ingredients' true flavoura
Simple dishes reflect the ingredients’ true flavoura

Value wise the O’Shin is not an expensive or a cheap experience but the strong reliance the hotel has on quality ingredients and freshness plus the finesse of the chef does guarantee you will get served only the best.
The Japanese do also harbour a sweet tooth so the dessert list, albeit short, is indeed sweet with coconut tapioca served in a chocolate bowl with spicy mango sauce, or what about home made green tea ice cream? There’s also a quartet of individual ice cream cones with wasabi, black sesame and ginger flavours, all of which to the untutored ice cream palette may sound pretty dreadful but were delicious and acted as a perfect end to what was an exceptional dining experience.

VITAL STATISTICS
SPECIALTY Asian/Japanese fusion
WHERE O’Shin, Elysium Hotel, Paphos
CONTACT 26 844444
PRICE main courses from €17 to €92

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