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Restaurant review: Namaste, Paphos

by James Fraser

The qualities of an exceptional eatery are akin to those of a tightrope walker, an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance. The recently opened Namaste in Paphos offers all these qualities plus superb value for money, variety and good exciting food created using the very best ingredients.

Namaste is the newest kid on the block as far as the Paphos restaurant scene is concerned and if the food I tasted last week keeps to that standard then we have here a true culinary gem offering the very best Indian street food. It is cooked by Joe, an exceedingly talented and innovative chef who brings to town 20 years’ experience working at some of the very best eateries in the UK. I adored the food and also adored the venue, which is an offshoot of the Nereus Hotel situated just next door to the popular Almond Tree restaurant. So in the company of two enthusiastic India-ophiles we gave the menu a proper seeing to indeed.

The first thing that hits other than the tempting aroma of hand ground herbs and spices is when you sink teeth into a starter of Pani Puri – you instantly know this man knows his business as these crisp deep fried bowls of pastry filled with potato, onion and a lip smacking touch of tamarind chutney sets the scene for a truly memorable meal. It’s truly delicious and you really must dive in with the digits. Our other tasty starter, presented as a platter, of Chaat consisted of sev puri, dahi puri and bhel puri. My main dish of south Indian fish curry created from good bite size pieces of quality sea bream, fresh curry leaves and coconut milk, was a delight, followed by a dish of chilli chicken, a perfectly cooked lamb biryani and some space was left to test drive chef’s tender and very tasty buttered chicken.

Growing up, bread for me used to be just an edible sponge for sauce, rather than something worthy of comment but here at Namaste bread is celebrated in the form of a selection of Naan and Roti, the former arriving looking so soft and velvety that one doesn’t know whether to eat them or sleep on them.

My highlight among the shining platter of goodies we enjoyed (not forgetting the tandoori dishes) has to be the Dosa Tiffin dishes, this is a fermented crepe created from rice and black lentil and we opted for the masala dosa which is stuffed with boiled potatoes seasoned with mustard seeds garnished with coconut and coriander served with a range of different homemade chutneys. There are eight types of dosa to choose from, you can go plain simple and tasty to a dosa stuffed with spiced minced lamb with chutney and sambar and enjoy what is a typical south Indian street takeaway. Vegetarians of course are in a dream environment with loads of dishes to tempt the taste buds, and there are also dishes reflecting the Chinese influence as immigrants escaping the communist regime settled in Calcutta and developed a cuisine which married local dishes with their own traditional Chinese food and one dish I liked was the stir fried noodles with sliced vegetables served with a deliciously spicy sauce. Or I could have opted for the chicken shezwan noodles but anything this man serves up I will happily consume. When going for the first time just ask chef to make you a few tempting starters and sit back and wait for what will be a great ‘taste’ wake up call.

Despite the lack of marketing customers are slowly but surely discovering this haven of genuine food joy and I am not surprised as I haven’t relished a meal like this in a very long time.

WHERE Konstantias 7, Kato Paphos
CONTACT 96 067591
PRICE dishes from 4-13 euros

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