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Restaurant review: The Old Town Restaurant, Polis

The Old Town restaurant in Polis has been in existence since 1993, when it was adapted from an old village house, the original stone arches, floor, and wooden roof rafters of which are still evident in the very model of a neighbourhood eatery. It punches well above its weight, it is the sort of place you want on your doorstep, or at least that I want on mine, and the food is so good that the trip from Paphos to dine there is well worth the journey.

Vangelis is both chef and owner of this gem and the dishes served are genuinely ‘swoon-worthy’, that are soft, hard, sweet and acidic. He does all this quite beautifully with genius touches that will bring delight to even the most jaded of palates.

The actual restaurant occupies a prime location set on the small incline to the right as you sweep down the road into Polis – you could easily miss it and that would indeed be a crying shame.

The interior is simple – no extra flummery, only gleaming white table linen and sparkling glasses, and in winter the best table is close to the cosy fireplace. But, for those who relish true al fresco dining the Old Town offers what I think is the very best ‘secret garden’, a place where diners sit under shady trees, and the air is filled with the scent of mint, lavender and oregano, a garden area that makes you feel so removed from the outside world that all you really want to do is concentrate on the foodie delights that will soon arrive at your table.

We were a table of three and as we nibbled on traditional home made creamy dips, each of us then ordered something different. I plumped for partridge ravioli with dry sage, parmesan cheese and a white wine butter sauce – the best thing I had tasted in a long time. My companions raved about the grilled octopus and cucumber salad and the super tasty duck spring rolls served with a chilli sauce and vegetable crisps. Then we shared a wild rocket salad studded with pomegranate, pine nuts, parmesan flakes and sun dried tomatoes and again the balance of flavours was spot on.

There are a total of 15 starters, which include gnocchi, carpaccio of seasonal fish, scallops, and black barbequed crispy pork belly in a sweet wine reduction with a hint of fresh coriander. There is also a vegetarian mousaka that a man on the next table ordered on advice from his doctor to give up meat. Never a member of the veggie brigade, he had grudgingly ordered this dish only to find his inner vegetarian came bursting forth after only one mouthful.

Mains offer a good number of seafood dishes; grilled prawns with lemon grass and lime, lobster pasta, also wood grilled fresh sea bass, or stuffed sole with crab meat with saffron lemon butter. There is also a gourmet meze and a seafood meze, not forgetting slow cooked lamb kleftico and two other favourites: the wood roasted duck and free range rabbit stifado cooked in Commanderia dessert wine, and steak lovers have not been forgotten with Black Angus rib eye fillet with a mushroom or pepper sauce. We enjoyed marvellous flavours from baked fennel, fresh orange and limes, juniper berries, sesame oil and infused olive oil from a kitchen that prides itself on culinary alchemy, harmonising flavours so that everything complements and joins together perfectly. So don’t miss out on a memorable evening, it will I hasten to add be memorable for all the right reasons.

SPECIALITY Mediterranean cuisine
WHERE Old Town Restaurant, Polis, Paphos
CONTACT 26 322759 or 99 632781
PRICE starters from €8, mains €18

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