By Nan Mackenzie
Heston Blumenthal took eight months of experimentation to perfect his triple cooked chips recipe, but, if you do fancy knocking up a plate of these delights when at home, be prepared to wait exactly two hours and 12 minutes before tucking in, as the process is so tedious one could have cooked a three course Sunday lunch for seven in the same time frame. I mention chips because I want to get this out of the way and move on, it’s a warning that the establishment being reviewed doesn’t follow Heston in any way shape or form, his chips are straight from the freezer, this however is the sole negative criticism (albeit it an important one)
The Michalos Kebab House and take away is a very basic no-nonsense eatery which has survived as a front line fuelling station for policemen, taxi drivers and locals for the past 18 years. Situated near Paphos’ main police station, here one can enjoy original Cypriot dishes in all their simple splendour – chicken or pork souvlaki and homemade Sheftalia, salad, bread and dips.
It’s here I will happily take my chance any day of the week, to be served one of these basic dishes done really well; the place even smells right as wafts of charcoal smoke, combined with seared meats and dried herbs hit the nostrils as you walk in. You are greeted by sharp lighting and a stout unsmiling cook, clad in a vest with T towel casually draped over one shoulder, who then greets you with a welcoming grunt.
Do not be deterred by the lack of warmth in his manner, for this is a man whose attentions are solely given to his ‘grilling’ leaving customers who wish to dine in to the very pleasant administrations of a very friendly and efficient waitress.
You can either order takeaway, or eat in and in summer that means al fresco dining in the narrow but rather sweet garden alleyway which holds a few tables and offers a good view of the street. The night we ate there, our esteemed Mayor of Paphos was seen being delivered of his souvlaki by our host before driving away at speed with a smile of anticipation on his face. That’s what I liked about the place – our host caters for everyone from adolescent boys guzzling cokes and sheftalia and chips, to a quartet of British tourists eulogising aloud at the quality, price and comforting size of the portions they had delivered to their table.
The other thing I enjoyed was when an elderly Cypriot gentleman leaned on his bike and from the entrance to the garden waved at me, with his other hand he indicated to the music case strapped across his back, being polite I returned his wave and before you could say ‘Salad and Sheftalia’, he had parked his bike, unzipped his case and out came a somewhat battered but still beautiful mother of pearl inlaid bouzouki. This was for us a new experience, sitting there eating a meal which would only come to around €6 a head with a lovely old gent serenading us with urban folk music. I honestly haven’t enjoyed myself like that at a take away establishment for a very long time, despite the dodgy chips.
WHERE Michalos Kebab House, off Apostolou Pavlou at Bidi Next turnoff
PRICE – from €6
CONTACT 26 936457 or 96 620188