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Kolonaki, Jozi’s hottest new spot for Mediterranean tapas – reviewed

Kolonaki is a historic area in Athens revered for its central location, great restaurants and designer boutiques. It’s modish and sophisticated and Kolonaki restaurant emulates that, offering a Mediterranean feast for all the senses.

 

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Food type: Mediterranean, Greek
Parking: On the street
Cost: R130 average main meal
Best for: Weekend lunches, dinner with friends and celebrations
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4; Service: 3; Ambience: 5

Food

There’s an abundance to choose from: mezedes, salads, yiro, souvlaki, fish and various steak, lamb and pork mains prepared over a charcoal grill. Everything, apart from the dolmades and taramasalata, is made in house (even the yoghurt) and they will also begin making their own cheeses.

 

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The mezedes are refined sharing plates. The cured ouzo and beetroot salmon with diced cucumber, dill oil, hung yoghurt and katai is a beautiful dish, delicate and refined, and the braised beef cheek stifatho with carrot purée is sheer comfort on a plate. Vegetarians should try the grilled aubergine with miso paste, tahini, pine nuts and raisins – it’s delightful. You’ll find both ‘traditional’ and ‘signature’ yiros on the menu, the ‘signature’ section providing an eclectic slant to old-school street food – think smoked brisket in a pita with horseradish yoghurt and pickles, or the duck yiro with spring onion, yoghurt, cucumber and carrots.

For mains, the 250g sirloin with a beef jus, homemade skordalia (potato-and-garlic spread) and charred onion comes highly recommended, as do the charcoal grilled prawns served with chips and whole deep-fried red mullet.

 

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Dessert must-tries are the baklava and the baklava cheesecake. Baked fresh daily, the cheesecake has a Greek butter biscuit base and is wonderfully decadent, with just a hint of lemon zest to cut the richness. For something a little lighter, try the panna cotta made with the home-made Greek yoghurt, pistachios and white chocolate.

Drinks

BYOB while they wait for their liquor licence to come through, but look forward to a great selection of cocktails and well-priced wines. In the meantime, try the home-made lemonade or the virgin ginger mojito.

Service

Waiters are keen and at the ready, although as a brand new establishment there’s a little way to go before it works like a well-oiled machine. They’re well versed on the art of up-selling, but have a sense of humour about it. The owner, Basil Holiasmenos, is the son of restaurant mogul Theodore Holiasmenos, who opened Ciao Baby Cucina. Basil’s brother Michael manages the front-of house team, meeting and greeting each table and ensuring your every need is met.

Ambience

A lot of time, energy and money have gone into the creation of this exquisite space. What was once a sprawling Cape Dutch house is a now an opulent restaurant venue. The décor isn’t the clichéd blue and white; instead, expect arches with rounded corners, stucco plaster and ferns in oversized pots. There’s great outdoor seating that’s elevated from the street, meaning you can dine al fresco without being on the pavement. The chairs and tables are beautifully crafted and the gorgeous crockery has been imported from Japan.

 

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Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here

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