By Nan Mackenzie
Not a month to venture far and explore new places to eat, January is time to stick close to home and support your local taverna. Mine is a five minute walk away and is the place I turn to when the order of the evening has to be really good chips accompanied by a perfectly grilled breast of chicken and salad. It is where I take friends for supper to experience my always reliable ‘local’ where one can drink a few glasses of wine, then enjoy the walk home under a star studded sky.
A good taverna however should always remember what the words ‘home cooking’ actually are all about. It’s a phrase that is used to mean hearty, soothing and nourishing. That was before cookery programmes spawned the cult of the celebrity chef and folk were taught is was somehow ‘uncool’ to eat what most people whip up in their own kitchens.
The Konia Tavern sticks to this hearty, wholesome description and the family who own and run it are fortunate in having as grill master the patriarch of the family. And this chap certainly knows his craft as he grills using carob wood at temperatures that turn his cooking station into a version of Hades, yet he always seems to maintain his cool, constantly nurturing the heat source. From years of experience, he always knows when food is perfectly cooked, at which point he just yells for a waiter and voila there comes to the table piping hot meats.
The night we dined ,the grill station tried out a piece of salmon, which turned out not too bad considering the inherent delicacy of the fish, but we had already been digging into the flourish of greenery which is a talking point here, as you are presented with a large platter of washed and raw fresh summer or winter greens. This was followed by the meze parade of dishes beginning with the usual selection of standard dips with hot pita bread, halloumi from the grill with homemade lounza slices, a dish of very Moorish cous cous, tasty sundried tomatoes offering a memory of hot summer days, fried aubergine slices, then a mix of good roast vegetables.
To be honest, I have never, in all the times I have eaten here, finished a full meze (unless of course I am accompanied by my nephews).
Most of the time the take away box has more food in it than has been consumed, but I do like this man’s grill craft, particularly the chicken which always arrives perfectly cooked and his chips, which are excellent. There are also dishes that are off the meze menu such as stifado and you can opt to go this route and just have a couple of dishes plus the dips and that combination is actually sufficient, but if really hungry and you order the meze then be prepared for a parade of plates offering pork chops, liver, not forgetting some juicy sheftalia, souvlaki, and tasty ribs. The menu also offers customers the choice of either this special meze menu or a vegetarian selection.
The place itself is naturally blessed – being situated opposite Konia church, diners can opt to eat indoors or out, plus there is excellent municipal parking nearby. It’s a casual unfussy place to eat, no one dresses up and it is friendly, clean and cosy. It’s somehow comforting to know that no respectable down to earth taverna is ever going to offer a ground breaking gourmet experience, and that’s why we love them so much. We always know what we are going to get, that the good ones consistently serve good value for money meals.
WHERE Konia Tavern, Konia village opposite the church, Paphos
CONTACT 99 622705 or 26 934608