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Review: Great Greek grub at Durban North’s newest taverna, Nikos

Durban – with its large Greek community – has gained a new Greek eatery, creating a hungry buzz in the city. Located on Durban North’s Adelaide Tambo Drive is a new Hellenic haven, NIKOS Coalgrill Greek. Eat Out critic Nikita Buxton nabs a table on busy Easter Sunday for a souvlaki and mezze-laden feast.

Fast facts

Cost: R50 for a mezze portion, R80 average for a main

Serves: Mezze, souvlaki and all things Greek

Parking: Park in the underground parking lot in the centre

Best for: A festive Greek lunch or dinner

Star rating: Food 5, service 4, ambience 4

Food

The menu features mezze, dips, salads, plated souvlaki (skewered and coal-fired meat), yiros (meat in pita wraps) and kreas (a variety of meaty dishes) – some traditional, and others with modern twists.

If you’re in the sharing mood, the mezze is the way to go. The Santorini-baked feta in phyllo pastry is the perfect balance of crunchy and soft and is paired with a delicious drizzle of sticky honey and grapes, for a hit of sweetness. The tender brinjal stack with a crumble of feta can also be shared or makes for a great vegetarian-friendly main. The tiropita (cheese pies) and spanakopita are top notch and generously stuffed with their perfectly seasoned fillings.

The mezze at at NIKOS Coalgrill Greek. Photo supplied.

The mezze at at NIKOS Coalgrill Greek. Photo supplied.

The pita breads deserve their own special mention. Even though they’re suggested as a side, the slightly charred tender dough is good enough to eat as a main, paired with a bowl of tangy tzatziki, rich hummus, or mildly-spiced htipiti (a dip made of roasted red pepper and feta).

Moving on to the heartier fare, the souvlaki is generously plated with two large skewers of extremely tender coal-fired chicken, beef fillet or pork, with the option to add an extra skewer. These come with chips, pita bread, salad and your choice of dip.

The souvlaki at Nikos. Photo supplied.

The souvlaki at Nikos. Photo supplied.

If you can’t decide, try one of the yiros. Hefty chunks of meat are wrapped in pita bread and come in several variations. The Corfu version is filled with meat and fries for extra bulk, while the Mykonos one comes with a spicy hit of htipiti dip. If you still want a side, the lemony roasted potatoes are delicious, and the spiced roasted cauliflower head is a healthier option.

As for the desserts – if you have any room left – the halva ice cream is great, as is the Turkish delight, but the baklava takes the prize. The modern deconstructed pud is comprised of corrugated phyllo served with ice cream, mixed nuts, warm sticky syrup and a spicy flurry of cinnamon. It’s a great send-off, especially when accompanied by a cup of proper Greek coffee.

Drinks

The wine list is quite limited, but you can always bring your own bottle, for R40 corkage.

Service

While the restaurant is still new, the staff are on the ball and super friendly. You’ll also be seen to by the owners, who are eager to please.

The interior at NIKOS Coalgrill Greek.

The interior at NIKOS Coalgrill Greek. Photo supplied.

Ambience

The space is breezy and spills out onto the pavement. It could get a bit warm in Durban’s humidity, but the Santorini-style décor makes it feel cool and pleasant. Succulents, shells and Greek music (though perhaps a touch too loud) complete the scene.

And…

They currently don’t take any bookings, so get there early to nab a table, or call in for the already-popular takeaways of souvlaki or yiros.

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

Have you eaten at NIKOS? Tell us about it with a quick review.

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