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Restaurant review: Koutourou Ouzeri, Paphos

By Sarah Coyne

Last year Paphos saw a considerable number of new restaurants open, but at the beginning of 2020 we are heading back to an old favourite and highly respected restaurant – Koutourou.

The restaurant was opened by chef/proprietor Demetris Nicolaou in 2014 and is located in one of the beautiful old colonial-style buildings behind the Town Hall in Paphos. This area has seen vast improvements over the last couple of years and is an idyllic setting for an evening out. With the fantastic new floodlights illuminating these architectural gems Paphos has never looked so good.

Koutourou has both inside and outside dining areas. At this time of year, the inside is a cosy setting with a wood-burning stove. The beautiful architectural features are abundant throughout, and Demetris has created a trendy interior with objets d’art from the 20th century and modern artworks. There is even a classic motorbike on display. The restaurant is not huge, so the advice here is always to book.
Demetris cooks in an open kitchen so you can see the hustle and bustle of the kitchen activity from the dining area. There is also a small bar to wait in if there is a delay to sit down. The staff are young and trendy.

All food is cooked to order, and the menu changes every day. Using seasonal ingredients is the essence of Koutourou. You can select what you like and share the dishes at the table. Be warned that portion sizes are generous and designed to be shared.

The meal here will always start with a loaf of homemade bread – served warm and topped with sesame seeds. The menu is not huge, and you might typically have a selection of 10 to 12 dishes for the whole meal. As a treat for the new year, we visited the restaurant during a busy lunchtime service. To start, I selected a spicy cheese dip which I knew would go very well with the bread. My partner chose the celery soup. While the generous portion of cheese dip was lovely with the taste of goat’s cheese subtly coming through, a case of dish envy ensued at our table. Celery soup just didn’t sound that amazing but what a mistake to make. On tasting the soup, it was one of the finest and creamiest I have ever tasted.

Moving onto the main course, we had decided to share prawns cooked in beer and oven-baked halloumi with honey. The king prawns were large, nine in total, and while I am not a fan of beer, the flavour it gave to the prawns combined with saffron was excellent. The halloumi dish is a firm favourite at Koutourou, and I cannot imagine visiting and not having it. I have tried to repeat this dish at home with little success as nothing compares to Demetris’, which has a light souffle texture.

This restaurant is highly recommended for anyone who plans to start a low carb/keto diet after the holiday festivities. You really can select proteins on their own without having to say “hold the fries” which makes a diet so much easier. It is also very suitable for vegetarians with many of the dishes being meat-free and usually a main vegetarian option. On the day we visited they had lentils with ouzo.

The ethos of Koutourou is always to make the most of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and that is why the menu changes daily. In stunning surroundings and with exceptional food, it is a good reminder that sometimes the old tastes are the best ones.

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