Whenever I know I am visiting a country (or for that matter town or city) for the first time, naturally my first instinct is to find out where’s good to eat! That, and due to the nature of this blog, any hidden elements of ‘foodie randomness’ that may be occurring within the vicinity! Needless to say when I found out we were heading to Cyprus for a week, my thoughts immediately turned to food.
Staying in Pafos, and without transport with the exception of local taxis or buses – but with a severe lack of timetables!, my search radius was, on this occasion, a little limited. However, a popular eatery that kept coming up time and time again was 7 St. Georges Tavern, so naturally I wanted to find out what all the hype was about.
Arriving outside a very unassuming traditional stone and wood building, which quite frankly I probably would have missed if we hadn’t taken a taxi, I have to say I was initially a little worried. However, this lasted all of two seconds as we entered the tavern and were transported to Cyprus! Yes…I am aware that I was actually in Cyprus already, but after a week of ‘hotel’ food in a hotel ‘restaurant’ – this came as a welcome relief.
With two spacious interlinked dining areas, complete with stone floors, wooden tables and chairs* and a wicker ceiling…oh and a friendly neighbourhood cat; the ambience of the tavern was what I would consider rustic Cypriot home life to be like. This combined with the low lighting, traditional household items on display (including a very interesting book on aromatic and spicy plants in Cyprus – ha ha!), Cypriot music and the faint hint of smokiness from the raging wood burner outside, made for a very pleasant dining atmosphere.
Again offering a Cypriot meze at 17€ each and 8.50€ for children, I was keen to see how and if this differed from the very traditional meze I had experienced earlier on in the week at Kamares Taverna in Lofou.
As I found out, 7 St. Georges is the family run restaurant of George, Damian and Ben Demetriades; a welcoming and helpful Ben was quick to explain the concept behind their traditional and seasonal Cypriot meze or ‘little delicacies’. Basically and in short, they feed you till you say stop (based on my previous meze experience, that’ll be the 2nd course then!)
The longer version being that a typical meze at 7 St. Georges starts with salad and between 6-10 appetizers that differ every night but may include, homegrown olives, cured meats, dips and pickles. Continuing with a variety of traditional and sometimes contemporary meat and vegetable dishes, you can expect to get through roughly 20 dishes, depending on how much you can eat…I refer back to the point above…argh!
After a long and warm day (temperatures were floating around the 28°C mark), the accompanying large carafe of house wine was a welcome sight. While it wasn’t the best wine I’ve ever tasted, it was cold and wet…objectives met and we headed onto the food…
A salad dish of pure beauty – the freshest tomatoes (the photo didn’t do it justice)
A selection of dips including hummus pickled samphire (a reoccurring ingredient in this Meze), potatoes, yoghurt, tomatoes, carrots and peppers served with fresh (it came out steaming) currant home-made bread.
A special shout out at this point to the cauliflower dish – mashed cauliflower with garlic mayonnaise, turmeric and wild thyme…delicious didn’t even come close. Needless to say I am going to try and recreate this dish at home (should be fun based on my cooking skills, an ongoing struggle to use spices well and my lack of patience – apparently it takes 2 days to make!)
Lamb tapas with cabbage, mustard seeds and couscous
Roast beef, lentils and spinach
Bacon and artichoke with eggs and olives
The artichoke with egg were of a scrambled texture, and while this photo doesn’t look too appetising, I can assure you they were very tasty.
Roast chicken, roasted carrots and samphire (back again and way too much!)
Chocolate cake with cream and sweet toffee cake.
Both very soft and while a little too sweet for me, extremely ‘moreish’ considering I was stuffed!
*it may be time to take my RAMCIR campaign abroad – I really wish restaurants would consider what their guests are sitting on (especially when dining for a couple of hours); whether it’s wood or metal chairs there is an amazing invention called…a cushion! If you must invest in uncomfortable seating, factor in cleaning bills for soft furnishings or even better buy comfortable chairs that will save your customers backs – ha ha!
- A reservation is a must, but I have to say far easier than I thought it would be. A quick message through 7 St. George’s Facebook page, and within a couple of hours they were back with a confirmed reservation.
- There is a beautiful garden outside the restaurant, growing herbs and flowers – well worth a wander around if only, as the kids found out, to admire the caterpillars and silk worms!
- If you love cats, they have a very friendly one who quite frankly scared the **** out of me when I felt something furry rubbing against my bare leg!
- They don’t have a menu – I always find it exciting to not have a clue about what is going to appear in front of you.
Would I recommend 7 St. Georges Tavern?
7 St. Georges Tavern appears to be a bit of tourist ‘foodie’ hotspot, and they certainly know how to cater for their audience (at the time of writing it has 1300 reviews on Tripadvisor, over a 1000 of which are ‘Excellent’). Evidently I’m no expert on Mezes but having had two in one week (both very different), while it is badged as traditional, I think this is geared more to visitors to the area. Therefore if you are a newbie to Cypriot Mezes then this is a place to experience. Personally I would highly recommend the Tavern – a very pleasant and welcoming dining experience that was fantastic value for money; I would definitely go back if visiting the island again.
Address | Anthypolochagou Georgiou M. Savva 37 | Yeroskipou, Paphos 8201.