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Restaurant review: Prometheus Community Centre, Paphos
The Prometheus Community Centre in the heart of Moutallos proudly carries the moniker of the Titan God charged with the tricky task of moulding mankind out of clay, but he upset the all powerful Zeus, tricking him out of the best portions of the sacrificial feast, giving all the prime cuts of meat over to man for his enjoyment. Zeus retaliated by removing fire from man’s hands, putting paid to any more souvla sessions but good old Prometheus stole it back. For this act his punishment was to be lashed to a rock where every day for 1,000 years an eagle flew in and feasted on his liver. Come dawn his liver had always miraculously regenerated and this somewhat painful feasting by the eagle would then begin all over again.
Trying to regenerate a village identity and mould a unified community garnered out of 98 different villages from which the residents fled here from the north of Cyprus after the 1974 invasion has been no easy task. Disparate groups, depression, frustration, loss, acute teenage problems, drug taking - in fact the whole gamut of social problems has been a growing problem within the village, until that is the community centre opened its doors and once again there was a welcoming place where locals could come and meet, play and commune with each other.
It’s based in what used to be the old Turkish cinema and even if you don’t stop for lunch or dinner you should really come just to have a coffee and view the quite magnificent solid steel movie projector which is the sole remnant of the building’s past history. The tavern part is separated from the billiard room and the cafe area, it is now called ‘the Balcony’ as it offers diners not only a superb panoramic of Paphos, but a feast of local ingredients cooked simply and accurately and served by a very friendly waitress.
Chef Pambos Shamptanis delivers one of the best mezes I have eaten in a very long time. His porgouri is the ‘real thing’ as is the lounza, which he home cures and marinates in red wine. The meze starts with a selection of the usual dips served with toasted bread and olives and a crisp, feta filled Cypriot salad. Chef makes his own sheftalia and when doused in fresh lemon juice these plus the starters are really a complete meal on their own. The meze however has to be the bargain of the year at €13, especially when you consider you also get stifado, kebabs, a delicious beef stew, proper chips, egg dishes, snails and a pile of stuffed mushrooms - that’s when you dearly wish you had brought the Tupperware dish so you can do your own take-away (note - they are more than happy to bag up your uneaten food and whether its for you or the family pet they don’t mind in the least).
Live music is popular on a Friday evening, also football on Saturdays but you won’t be disturbed by this when dining as the footie activity takes place in a separate part of the building - it garners a good crowd of locals who then drink zivania and beer to watch Manchester United being beaten by Arsenal or whatever!
Come the witching hour the taverna’s dance area has attracted the odd salsa demonstration, with one English lady telling me she has already got her eye on the place as a perfect venue for her Scottish country dancing evenings. One huge bonus has to be the large parking area close to the centre and almost opposite the entrance to the tavern. Nice people run this place, they genuinely care about their community and for those of us who live and work here it’s important that we also make the effort to support as much as possible positive regeneration projects such as these.
WHERE Prometheus community centre, Moutallos, Paphos
CONTACT 26 946255
PRICE €13 for meze