The Koh-i- noor in Paphos is one Indian restaurant that for many years has enjoyed a constant and well-deserved reputation for serving up quality Indian dishes many of which happily guide us off the well-worn chicken Tikka masala route onto road testing some decidedly different and very tasty and deliciously different dishes. Importantly, Budge the Indian owner is also a trained chef and he has not made the mistake of moving away from what can be described as a domestic culinary tradition; as overseer in the kitchen he offers customers strident, full on food that actually offers a genuine taste of India.
I dined with two male friends both suffering from the onset of a (man) cold so after the usual commiserations regarding their deeply sick state the order of the day for both had to be dishes which would sweat out the bug. We started with nan breads the size of African elephants’ ears with one portion of plain the other steeped in garlic. You could opt for an onion Kulcha, a tandoori roti or deep fried Puri, so the bread department is well served and comes piping hot and perfectly cooked with those lovely crispy bubbles of smokey burnt dough that help give this bread its distinctive flavour.
Talking of being well served, any visiting vegetarians will truly believe they have died and gone to veggie heaven as there is a veritable host of options available from Biryani to Jalfrezi and a wide variety of genuinely tasty vegetable starters and side dishes, including my all-time favourite of Dahl Mackni for this is indeed a hymn in praise of the lowly lentil with black lentils that had been slow cooked in a delicious buttery gravy. We followed up the Nan-fest with a starter of meat and vegetable samosas accompanied by a platter of tasty dips, as we awaited the promised cold medication in the form of a very hot lamb Vindaloo and a chicken Madras listed as being ‘fairly’ hot.
I tested both dishes, one small forkful: the latter was truly spicy and at the same time not so overpowering that you didn’t get the flavour of mustard seeds and just that hint of tamarind. The vindaloo was indeed fiery hot but again, not so paralysing to either taste buds or one’s gall bladder. Only when both dishes were wiped clean (with yet another portion of nan breads) did both companions lean back in their chairs and announce that they were both ‘cured’ and feeling fantastic.
I had no such need of this special ‘medication’ so plumped for a milder dish in the exceedingly tasty form of a Bhuna, which is a spiced dry curry with onions tomatoes and coriander. All our dishes were partnered by pilau rice, though we could have chosen from a selection of eight different ones including a mushroom or Kashmiri Pilau. There is also on offer the option of selecting either chicken, lamb, prawn, or king prawns for your curried delight.
This was a very good and highly satisfying Indian dining experience and one we promised to return to and the added bonus is the value for money element, not forgetting another important asset and that is the employ of some of the nicest and very professional smiley waiting staff who seem to also have endless patience when it comes to describing to ‘curry virgins’ what each dish offers in level of ‘heat’. Of course chef will adapt any dish to suit your taste so if you want if hotter or milder the staff will make sure chef gets the message.
WHERE Koh-i-noor, 110 Tomb of the Kings Road, Paphos
PRICE around €20 for a two course meal with rice and dips etc.
CONTACT 26 965544 and for delivery and take away: www.koh-i-noor-cyprus.com