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Poppadums Tandoori Indian Restaurant


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THE BEST INDIAN | PAPHOS

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 5 years ago

I really promise that this will be the absolute last post in regards to food here in Cyprus. If you have not been up to date with my recent posts, we're still here in what is like my current home, Paphos. The small town of Paphos is located on the western side of the island, and to be specific, we're on the Greek Cypriot side. In saying this, the island is still divided into its Greek side being at the bottom half of the island and their Turkish side just up north of the island. Another interesting fact that I have yet to point out after writing all these blogs about Cyprus is that, its capital city, Nicosia, is the world's last divided capital city in the whole entire world. I find this super interesting because this has become a very common part of life here in Cyprus, but as a tourist, I find this really fascinating. We will save Nicosia and the rest of Cyprus for another time (if I ever get to it with some nice pictures for you guys), but this time, we will still be discussing my favourite topic, food!

Once again I feel that I have already shared with you all the best places to go to for local Cypriot cuisine, as well as a good Italian place and another modern regional cuisine of this part of the world. Without being repetitive and sharing with you information that is irrelevant, this post is all about Indian food! It may be weird to end up in an Indian restaurant while you're here in Cyprus, but there's nothing wrong with it, and let me explain why. Cyprus, and Paphos to be specific, has a big English population of retired people, as well as a good mix of families and young people visiting the country from the United Kingdom. In regards to this context, Indian food is no stranger to this area of the world, so having a decent Indian restaurant is an attractive alternative for British people seeking a change from the local Cypriot meals.

The Indian restaurant that I would like to share with you goes by the name of Poppadums Tandoori. At first glance, I thought that there must surely be a spelling mistake here since they must be referring to the delicious ''Papadum, '' which is an Indian food of crispy fried dough that is thin and slightly salty, and of course, delicious. After a quick research, the internet - by this I mean wikipedia - has enlightened me that the food could also be spelled this well. Anyhow, let's get into why I can confidently recommend Poppadums Tandoori as the best Indian restaurant in Paphos.

I am no expert in Indian cuisine and this is one of the few cuisines that I don't get much exposure too but for that occasion I was joined with my mother, who adores Indian food, so I was in good hands. She has been a regular customer at Poppadums Tandoori and had proposed to me that we try it out one evening. With this, it was hard to say no to her since she loves Indian food, so I took the responsiblity of calling the place to make a reservation. In saying this, it is not mandatory to make reservations, but I would recommend doing so as we're moving into the summer season, which translates to loads of tourists in town and loads of hungry people finishing off their long day at the beach.

Also another point to keep in mind is that you should go here for dinner and also wear something that you would not mind throwing the washing machine after the meal. This is simply because the dining room has little to no ventilation, so your clothes will smell like food. Perhaps it's just me but I hate to get out from a restaurant smelling like I had been working the kitchen all day, but this is something you have to sacrifice for a good Indian meal.

Now that you're ready for the restaurant, it's also important to know where the restaurant is! The thing is, you will need a car to get here, since it's not quite accessible on foot. If you are familiar with the Coral Bay area, this restaurant is not very far. It's actually just along that road that begins from Tombs of the Kings Road and goes all the way along the shore like to Coral Bay. If you're coming from Coral Bay, the restaurant will be on your left hand side. As I don't know the exact address and they don't show it anywhere on the internet, the best sense of direction I could give you is to look out for Saint George Church or the more famous Saint George Hotel and Spa on the side of the beach and the sea. The restaurant will be almost exact opposite from this location, and you should be able to catch it out by the lit sign of the restaurant.

With the direction on point, now we're set for really good, authentic Indian food. I will only speak of the items we had on the night, so that you have an idea of what they have on the menu, as well as what is good to order, which is probably the most important. First thing first, you need to get a drink. Okay we will get some water because some of us see Indian food as a mixture of spices and herbs, which could result in a certain level of spiciness in the food, so a bottle of water (at the very least) is a great start. But to fully understand and appreciate the elegance and deliciousness of Indian cuisine, you have to order lassi. This is a drink that I fell in love with at first sight, or more like first sip. What this is, is basically a yogurt-based drink that can be sweet and salty, depending on the version you get. I don't mean to be offensive and please excuse me if I am, but it can be compared to a milkshake, as it comes from a very similar base, and is nice and thick. You could choose from a bunch of flavours and different restaurants will do theirs differently, but here, I would recommend that you stick to either the plain lassi or the mango lassi.

THE BEST INDIAN PAPHOS

As you could see from the photo I took of the night, the lassi really look like milkshakes! The flavours are very different though, and these lassis are no doubt more refreshing. The lassis here are served cold, but the ones that I have had in Paris are served at room temperature, in which I was told by my Indian friend is quite normal in India. Anyhow, lassi is quite a heavy drink, so be sure to not finish this before you start your main meal. My advice to you and what I think is the best way to have lassi is to sip it slowly throughout your meal, as they act as perfect pauses for the spiciness and richness of the Indian dishes. If you don't fancy the sweet and savoury contrasts throughout your meal, you could also opt out to have your lassi at the end as a little dessert!

After order has been taken, we were given an introduction to Indian cuisine with a little starter before the real starter. The kind kitchen team brought us some poppadums, hence the very name of the restaurant, along with some really good dipping sauces on the side. I had no idea, and still have zero clue about what the dipping sauces were but one thing I could guarantee is that they were really yummy. I will take a wild guess and assume that:

- The yellow one there is the sweeter one, very similar to some really nice French sweet onions, or just your regular chutney. This dip will open up the contrast between the salty aspects of the poppadums and the sweeter notes of the dipping sauce.

- The white one is most likely a yogurt based dipping sauce. I can't exactly remember the taste, but it must have been the fresher option with possibly mint inside.

- The last one is the one that looks like a salsa, but is anything but that. As you could see it contains a bit of chopped up vegetables namely cucumber, onions and either red pepper or tomato. At this point the complimentary starters of poppadums and these three sauces are so good that I couldn't care less what ingredients are used in the dipping sauces!

THE BEST INDIAN PAPHOS

In addition, the poppadums were fried fresh for every table, which added to that extra quality here at the restaurant. For those that have never had Indian food, you should become an Indian food lover right after having these deep-fried poppadums and their dipping sauces.

We did have to wait quite a bit for the order to arrive at the table, but this was because we were there during the peak period of dinner and the kitchen was pumping. The food got to our table in about half an hour, and we were ready to feast. Our main meal consisted of a few main elements. Both my mother and I share a strong passion for good naan bread, which is the main type of bread consumed throughout India. Naan bread can be described as an Indian version of flat bread that is baked fresh in an oven. And by oven, we're talking about real ovens like the one you would slide your pizzas into, not your conventional oven that you would open the black door and set the temperature with a turn of the button! Personally, these ovens give a touch of deliciousness to the breads and anything it cooks, not sure why though, but this could just be a placebo thing.

Anyhow, the naan bread here come in a variety of flavours and ingredients, but the best ones are their plain naan bread, their cheese naan bread and lastly, their garlic naan bread. For our meal, we had chosen for the plain naan bread as well as the much reliable cheese naan bread. The plain naan bread is authentic in flavours, kind of like eating a calzone or simply just pizza crusts. The cheese naan bread has cheese stuffed in it, so when you tear the naan bread apart, you get glamorous melty, cheesy, aromatic goodness on the inside. In saying this, both versions of the naan bread are delicious, and they're perfect side dishes for your curries and grilled meat.

This brings about the next dish that I would like to present: chicken tikka. In all honesty, I could barely tell the difference between chicken tikka and its very close cousin chicken tandoori. Other than the fact that it is the second part of the restaurant's name, it is up there with naan bread and curry as one of the most loved dishes in all of the Indian cuisine. Through research on the internet, a source that has taught me a lot about food and culinary cultures, I have come to understand the difference between the two. I would like to pass on this knowledge to you should you be in the same position as me, so that your next trip to an Indian restaurant could be that of a smooth sailing. Reliable sources tell me that:

- Chicken tandoori is usually larger chunks of the chicken, like the thigh or breast and so on, which are then left to sleep in their marinate over night. After this marinating process, the chicken is then cooked in the oven.

- Chicken tikka, on the other hand, is smaller pieces of the chicken, as you could see from my photo, that are covered in yogurt and various spices, then cooked in the oven.

THE BEST INDIAN PAPHOS

Some sources further go on to say that chicken tandoori should have stronger elements of lemon and chilli while chicken tikka should revolve around flavours from the yogurt coating and cilantro. It is clear that I need many, many more Indian food tasting before I reach the expertise of this guy. Until then, these two dishes taste very similar, and look almost identical to me.

Regardless of the debate between the two, the quality of our chicken tikka left room for no debate. It was perfectly seasoned with spices and was cooked perfectly. It was quite juicy on the inside as we cut them in half, as every chicken dish should be. A bite of the chicken, a piece of naan bread and sip of lassi is all we need. These chicken tikka pieces sat on a bed of raw white onions. Technically they are cooked, or semi-cooked, since the dish was presented in a black cooking pan. For the sake of no better words to describe this, it was like a hot-plate that continued to cook the onions, creating a really accompaniment to the chicken tikka.

Moving right along, we also had a few curries, but only one made it to the photo. Other than the usual must gets of chicken curry, which would be either in a red sauce or a green sauce, and your mutton curry, I would highly recommend their green curry with cheese and spinach. Once again these dishes have their proper name but with the names being traditional and from the Hindi language, it is tough on me as a foreigner to keep them in my head! If you really want to try out this dish, just explain this to the waitress or look out for the same description on the menu. The cheese curry with spinach was fantastic, as the cheese gave the curry a really unique texture, and the spinach just makes you feel healthy. But really, who would have thought that cheese, spinach and spiciness could all work together flawlessly in an Indian curry? This one is definitely worth a try if you are after something quite different.

Just before we move away from the topic of curries, Poppadums Tandoori realises that not everyone can handle the same level of spiciness. With the curries you order, you are required to inform the waitress of the spiciness level you would like for that particular curry. The level of spiciness goes all the way from close to not spicy at all to so spicy that you will need to drink gallons of water. We always go for the mild level, which is almost half way. This is only for me though, because I am certain that my mother would order something crazy spicy that I won't be able to even handle.

THE BEST INDIAN PAPHOS

We have now gone through the plain naan bread, the cheese naan bread, the differences between chicken tikka and chicken tandoori, and the different curries and what you would not regret trying, but I have one last item to share with you guys. The last items is probably the item that not many people would be ordering at an Indian restaurant. This is the one and only saffron rice, the rice that looks all yellow and yummy for the use of saffron. Just like many things on the menu, Poppadums Tandoori also do their saffron rice differently. I am once unsure as to what ingredients are usually used for this dish, but the variation here had some delicious topping of some sort on top. And another thing worth pointing out is that, I still don't know what saffron tastes like. I know that it adds a beautiful yellow colour to the rice, but as for the taste, that should be next up for my upcoming visit.

The picture is once again not clear enough for us to identify the topping and you guess it right, my memory has once again let me down. As we all know, there is nothing better to go along with curry their naan bread and of course, a rice dish of some sort. This really set up for a full-on, delicious, Indian feast and another must try.

To conclude this post, I once again highly recommend this whole place to you all in Paphos. I see this as a good change from other foods available here in Paphos and it's also a good place for those that have never tried Indian food before. And again, below is my personal opinion of my first visit to Poppadums Tandoori, and I'm sure it was the first of many to come!

Poppadums Tandoori Indian Restaurant Coral Bay - Ratings:

Accessibility - 7/10

Price - 8. 5/10

Selection - 10/10

Staff Friendliness - 8. 5/10

Cleanliness - 8/10

Overall - 8. 5/10

TripAdvisor comments from local residents as well as tourists on Poppadums Tandoori Indian Restaurant

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Cheers!

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