Konstantias Street 5, 26935529/99513863, KATO PAPHOS
Food: [rating:4] 4/5
Service: [rating:4] 4/5
Ambiance: [rating:3] 3/5
When I drive around Kato Paphos (the beach front and surroundings), I often find myself feeling a little disappointed. Although there are some beautiful, luxurious hotels the overall picture is that the city is a bit “outdated”. The local pubs and bars look old and forgotten while the restaurants look commercial. That is just what I thought when I first saw the Almond Tree. Who would have thought that what looked like a commercial and touristy restaurant in the centre of Paphos would hide such quality, hospitality and fun?
At first sight it looks a lot like restaurants in the area, not only in terms of location but also in terms of looks. Truth be told I was a bit worried when I saw it as I took Mr Proud Cypriot with me, and you know how he doesn’t like to risk his dinner. Upon entering though, we found a very clean setting with low lighting and a buzzing ambiance in a small inside space and we started thinking that perhaps our first impression was wrong. When we saw the menu which offered a creative international selection with local touches we were almost certain that we were wrong and finally when the food arrived and the live music started we knew we had definitely underestimated the place.
The menu is international as the chef and owner studied and worked in Miami. It is also heavily influenced by Indian cuisine as it is the chef’s favourite. Creativity is obvious in dishes like chicken Tikka with tzatziki, chicken Katsu with ranch dipping sauce and crab cakes with Thai coconut curry. Although I started off trying to choose between the Indian samosas with yoghurt parsley sauce and the seared duck breast carpaccio I ended up going for the crab cakes with Thai curry sauce as I had heard that they were a speciality. Fortunately rumours were true. The dish comprised of two large crab cakes in a Thai curry soup and tasted like Italian polenta with a crab flavour balanced with a sweet and lightly spicy curry sauce. I thought it was a truly fantastic dish. Mr Proud Cypriot’s tiger prawn cocktail (classic!), was equally tasty with a generous amount of prawns in a refreshing cocktail sauce.
For my main dish, I wanted to try one of their best sellers, so I asked the chef who said that I should go for the stuffed pork chop. It was literally two pork chops joined at one end and stuffed with cheese, spinach and smoked ham. It doesn’t get bigger than that!. The meat was tender and flavoursome as it absorbed all the juices from the stuffing but the main reason to order it is definitely to see what it is! The highlight of our meal I think was the fillet steak together with the triple fried fries. The New Zealand beef was amazingly tender and full of flavour and the triple fried crunchy and perfectly salty fries were the perfect accompaniment.
Although I refused to have dessert as I was terribly full, it didn’t take me long to devour the New York baked cheesecake which we were offered. This was served with a light strawberry sauce, which was delicious, and had nothing to do with the foamy and creamy cheesecake I expected. We were also very kindly offered an apple pie. I think this is a must-try as it is prepared as a traditional “boureki”. It is literally fried dough filled with sweetened apples.
I talked so much about the food that I didn’t give the required emphasis to the live music that was probably 50% of the fun. Light, quality Greek and English music (depending on the crowd) by a father and son. Thankfully not too loud therefore allowing us to still have conversation but loud enough to lift the spirits. It was a great addition to the meal. Even Mr Proud Cypriot was impressed!
The final verdict is a strong and confident GO! Go for the food, go for the friendly and hospitable service, go for the live music on Saturdays, go for something different and go because it’s good value for money. We paid around 35eur each for three large courses and beer which was definitely not too shabby!