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Restaurant review: Sfalangas Tavern, Paphos
I have friend who is known as the Angel of Death for his consistent and uncanny ability of destroying restaurants with his praise. He is the chap who phones up and says ‘You’ve just got to try this great restaurant that’s just opened’ then lists all the plus points (he takes a notebook with him) including the quality and price of the food, if there is a nice view, which wines are available, even the colour of the curtains, if the seats are comfy, and a detailed appraisal on the toilet facilities.
My friend genuinely means well, it’s just that I have yet to concur on any of the eateries he has raved about, and the last thing I want from him is yet another rapturous tip-off as past experience has led only to indigestion followed by the eventual closure of the establishment in question.
But his latest tip-off duly arrived and so it was with a tremulous heart I set off to dine at the recently opened Sfalangas Tavern in Kili village. From the exterior, it’s an instantly attractive place, set close to the old church in the main part of the village, in a converted village house that was once the family home lived in by the owner’s mother.
It’s a small, intimate place with a nice yard area for al fresco dining and, if first impressions are what matters, then this place immediately hit all the right notes. It’s a no frills, good old fashioned, honest, meze house with Pambos the owner as cook and his English wife Paula as solid supporter and comis chef, along with friends and family members helping out as friendly waiting staff. The night we were there, Pambos introduced me to his elderly mother who seemed to be more than approving and supportive of the changes her son has made to their former family home.
This is the perfect place to take friends and relatives who are visiting the island, especially if they haven’t previously experienced an old fashioned meze house which also boasts a lovely ambience. As for the food, it’s practised, family-style cooking like you would expect in any Cypriot household except here you get all the dishes presented to you that are in the Cypriot cook’s repertoire. There is, as one would expect, a seasonal feel to some recipes and from the minute I tasted the fresh, crisp village salad and dived into the home-made dips and warm bread, it was obvious the kitchen really did believe in freshness and flavour as a winning combination. We drank Tsangarides rosé, which manages to work so well with a hearty meze mix, from the chicken course, and sheftalia, to even the kebabs.
I felt really good about being at Sfalangas, not least because for the first time in ages my friend was right in his enthusiastic appraisal of an eatery, but also in discovering such a very friendly place, where it’s simple, it’s tasty and a visit here isn’t going to break the budget. They also do a basic home-made Sunday lunch with a choice of two roasts, plus salad, veg and potatoes and pudding for under €10. I’d happily pay that just to sit in this lovely peaceful place and while away the time eating and drinking with friends, confident in the knowledge that I am in the safe hands of folk who genuinely care about the welfare of their customers. And one last thing - the toilets were immaculate!
SPECIALITY Cyprus meze
WHERE Sfalangas Tavern, Kili Village
WHEN Every day from 3pm until midnight Sunday lunch 1-4pm
CONTACT 99 628659
PRICE meze €15, Sunday lunch €8