By Sarah Coyne
Paphos has a huge range of restaurants offering cuisine from all corners of the world and sometimes it is difficult to decide where to head but when four different friends recommend one in a short space of time you know you are onto a winner. Samisen Asian Cuisine is the latest edition to the Samisen family which started in Coral Bay, run by brothers Marios and Loukas Louka. While Samisen in Coral Bay offers Japanese cuisine alone, the new sister restaurant offers a wider range from Asia. This includes Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Japanese cuisine. The restaurant opened in August and after starting with take away and delivery, a restaurant has been created with both outside and indoor seating.
The seating and decor are very London China Town but comfortable and spotlessly clean. The menu is vast and any fan of Asian cuisine will be spoilt for choice. We visited at lunchtime and the place was busy with locals. On exploring the menu, the best option and certainly offering value for money was the Chinese combination set meal. Although this was probably playing it safe considering the wonderful dishes that were on offer.
We kicked off with a selection of starters which included pork Shanghai rolls, steamed sea food dim sum and fried king prawns with sesame seeds. The dim sum is served with an incredible ginger/soy sauce in the traditional bamboo basket. The parcels of sea food were tasty, while the prawns and pork rolls were served with a different sauce for dipping and presented on a bed of very tasty prawn crackers. Authentic in that they actually tasted of prawns. The sesame king prawns were large, well cooked and very generous on the set menu of €24 for two.
Moving on to the main course, we selected chicken breast in a sweet chilli sauce served with the house fried rice. On tasting the fried rice my partner, who spent part of his childhood in the Far East, proclaimed he hadn’t tasted rice like this since being in Hong Kong. We both enjoyed the large dish of chicken which was both peppery and sweet. It was a nice touch and actually rarely seen these days when head chef Orlando came out to enquire if we were enjoying the food. It was nice to meet this young man and he explained he had 17 years of culinary experience and I must say they are very lucky to have him. He heads a team of many chefs in the kitchen.
We didn’t try the sushi but on a neighbouring table one of the guests exclaimed they ate sushi every day due to a medical condition and after trying sushi everywhere and this was by far and away the best they had eaten.
We were served by one of the owners, the charming and very hospitable Lucas, who explained that everything at Samisen is homemade including all sauces and the desserts – chocolate paradise, banana island coffee brulee or Asian brulee with orange zest. We were too full after three starters and a very large main course but we will certainly return to Samisen Asian Cuisine to try them out. It is definitely our new favourite eating place to add to the list in this ever changing and improving area of Pano Paphos. Plus, it is opposite one of my favourite wine bars which makes it a nice combination for a night out. Samisen Asian Cuisine offers an extensive list of well priced local and international wines. Unfortunately we live in the hills outside Paphos but anyone in the catchment area (Anarita across Paphos to Tala) is very lucky to be able to pick up the phone and have anything they desire from the menu delivered to their front door. This is Asian cuisine at the highest level.
SPECIALTY Asian Cuisine
WHERE Samisen Asian Cuisine, Neofytou Nicolaide 22, Paphos
WHEN Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 11pm
PRICE Main courses from €7.50, Chinese combination meal for two €24 – 3 starters, 1 main and 2 fried rice