With the high temperatures of summer upon us and the ever increasing humidity, we all look for an escape to cooler climes. The golden rule is to go higher, and with the repeated recommendation from friends of a taverna in the hills, we headed for the delightful village of Simou. Having repeatedly driven the road from Paphos to Latchi, I have never detoured into Simou. It is the perfect spot to break your journey for lunch or a coffee en route.

O Tremythas taverna is positioned on the small pretty village square, one of two restaurants. There is a museum, church and a protected Pistacia Atlantica tree which is said to be the oldest tree in Cyprus. This colossal tree offers complete shade on a sunny day.

The taverna is a stone building offering a small inside area with one of those gorgeous traditional arches. During our visit, the inside was busy with diners. However, we decided to sit under the tree at one of the tables outside. There are also plenty of umbrellas on the outside terrace. The restaurant is family-owned, with the charming Maria very much at the helm.

The menu offers Cypriot dishes and some variations on chicken, steak and pork with different sauces. The sauces you can choose from include Diane, pepper, garlic and chilli. There are also grilled meats, salads, and some snacks. The Cypriot dishes included Kleftiko, Moussaka, Stew and Dolmades, plus speciality dishes which change regularly according to the availability of the fresh ingredients. For our lunch, we selected Moussaka and Chicken Diane.

As we sat back and enjoyed the freshness of our new environment, we enjoyed a glass of their house wine, which was priced at a very reasonable €3. The Moussaka was the first to arrive at the table, and reflected that the portion sizes are very generous at O Tremythas. We were very glad that we had not chosen anything from the tempting selection of hot and cold starters. The Moussaka was excellent; any fans of this dish would genuinely appreciate it. Full of the right aromatic flavours and generous with the meat, which can be a problem with other restaurants, as there is a tendency to fill with cheaper eggplant.

The Chicken Diane was also good, with a large chicken breast accompanied by a sauce of merit but not quite as creamy as other versions I have enjoyed in the past. The dishes were served with a bowl of exceptionally fresh salad with feta, a glorious hot pitta with oil and herbs and some of the best homemade chips ever experienced – large and cooked to perfection!

We were surprised to receive a dessert on the house following our main course – a delightful portion of delicious, refreshing crème caramel. We finished the meal with two iced lattes priced at just €2. Sitting in the perfect temperatures of the courtyard, it is hard to think of a better venue for a casual summer lunch at great prices. At the table next to us was a group of visitors from France who seemed seriously impressed with what appeared to be their first experience of Cypriot cuisine. Considering they were here for just one week, I respected them for finding such a gem in our region, which has evaded me for so many years. Definitely off the beaten track but well worth visiting.



WHERE O Tremythas, Village Square, Simou

WHEN 7 days a week 11am to 12pm. Booking is essential

CONTACT 99 438421

HOW MUCH Two main courses, two desserts, two glasses of wine, one soft drink and two iced lattes came to €41