By Nan Mackenzie
I am about to tell you of a welcome eatery where you are warmly welcomed and treated primarily as a person in need of sustenance, not as a walking wallet or a person in need of anything other than a culinary cuddle. It’s called Palia Elektriki, a small but perfectly formed example of what one professional chef in his kitchen can deliver without pretension; just a talented chap who knows his food and is possessed by a huge passion for cooking. The man in question is Vassos Savva, who with his wife Vasilia, owns and runs this gem of a place exceedingly well.
The venue is quirky in that it previously acted as the electric pumping station for Paphos, hence the name, and diners after walking through a large arched entranceway are greeted by the sight of a massive ancient generator this is all that’s left of the original powerhouse after it was renovated to offer a venue for cultural events, hence the large courtyard and modern waterfall feature.
At the rear of the courtyard stands the restaurant with the option to dine indoors or alfresco which, even on a cool evening I found to be a sheltered, calming oasis to enjoy either a light mid morning snack, lunch or dinner.
Vassos is a seasonal chef, using local ingredients when they are at their very best, and many a diner has returned again and again to relish his special lamb moussaka made with courgette and eggplant, or his deliciously delicate offering of duck with orange and pomegranate sauce, and the traditionalists will not be disappointed if they opt for his steak Diana.
The night we went we indulged in a mini meze of starters which included stuffed vine leaves, peppery sausage, traditional homemade dips with a bowl of hummus, which was a lovely reminder that it does not have to be the sort of thing you grout a bathroom with, plus a tasty rocket salad all accompanied by lashings of hot pita bread. The ‘just pink’ rack of lamb was voted one of the best by Barrie our photographer and my sea bream was a classic example of a chef who with twenty plus years under his belt as chef at both the Annabelle and Anassa hotels knows and respects his ingredients and has an instinctive flair for different flavour combinations – even a simple beetroot salad shows unusual care and attention as it dyed the lips but gladdened the heart.
I will certainly have to return to enjoy a full portion of the prawns Saganaki having just taste tested my friend’s dish who reluctantly passed over only a forkful but that was sufficient to seduce me as the flavours of basil, garlic and tomato with white wine that encompassed that fat juicy prawn will indeed lure me back.
Lunchtimes one can snack on tasty open sandwiches such as smoked salmon with capers or prawn and avocado, there’s also a very good pasta and vegetarian selection.
This is a place to enjoy seriously good comfort food. It’s got to be for people who like to end the day wearing silk slippers with the food having been delivered by a chef who genuinely cares about your comfort, and dare I say it Vassos does offer love albeit a silent, perfect love… on a plate.
SPECIALITY Mediterranean/quality traditional Cypriot dishes
WHERE Palia Elektriki, 8 Vladimerou Herakleous Street, Paphos
CONTACT 99 452548
PRICE from €8-12 upwards