It was over 5 years since I first step foot in Kouzina Greco. Ant and I were out for our first month anniversary (ngawww… ) and I can still remember that meal! We started off with some bread and pan-fried olives, and for mains he had a BBQ octopus dish and I had lamb chops with spinach, mash and lemon olive oil. They were so good! Since then we’ve been back multiple times and each time our bellies would be full to the point that we would have to roll out the door!
Kouzina Greco is one of my all time favourite restaurants to go to for a Greek fix. Although, I have to be upfront and honest with you; I have actually worked at this restaurant for about 6 months so there may be a bit of bias towards this restaurant BUT I have brought friends and family here on multiple occasions and each time they would marvel about how wonderful the food is. My last visit was with a Greek friend who complimented on how authentic the food was and how it was pretty much the same food she would find her mum making at home. The reason this is so is because there is an actual Greek lady in the kitchen cooking! And we all know that nothing beats mamma’s cooking right?!
I have pretty much tried every single item on the menu but haven’t been able to photograph each one,but I can reassure you that they are good! The pictures in this blog post is from 2 separate dining occasions.
I think this is certainly a dish you wouldn’t be able to find in in most Greek restaurants but instead would find in a typical Greek household. The cabbage rolls ($16) consists of cabbage leaves filled with mince and rice mixture and served with avgolemoni sauce; which is a slightly thickened sauce made of eggs and lemon, as odd as it sounds it is actually delicious with a hint of lemon and also dill. The cabbage leaves become soft and translucent and go wonderfully with the filling and sauce. This is a comforting dish in my eyes. I wish I had a Greek mum to make this for me all the time!
Grilled cyprus halomi cheese ($17) is given a modern touch by a stacking pieces of grilled haloumi cheese, tomatoes, steamed asparagus, rocket and olives and finished off with a drizzle of balsamic olive oil. This dish is an example of keeping simple traditional flavours but presenting it beautifully in a way to suit a restaurant setting without overdoing it. The haloumi cheese is still squeaky yet it is not overly salty. I love mopping up the remaining juices with a slice of warm house-made bread, ahhh.. the simple pleasures.
One can not go pass spanakopita ($15). Flaky filo pastry triangles encompasses a moreish yet light mixture of spinach and ricotta.
This dish was one of the new dishes I had not been acquainted with during my time working at Kouzina Greco. Once again, a typical Greek dish that isn’t often served in Greek restaurants and because I’ve never had it before I thought I will try it. Parmesan crumbed lamb brains ($16) is definitely an interesting dish, it served with braised radicchio and a caper lemon butter sauce. As I was eating this dish, the scientist in me could not help but literally dissect and examine the brain further. I was surprised to find the distinct white and grey matter, and even more so when they both tasted differently to one another! The grey matter has a texture similar to meat whilst the white matter had a smooth texture similar to a fish mousse.
The brain has a slightly rich and creamy taste to it, which is offset by the crumbed mixture. The bitter radicchio and tangy sauce also helps cuts the richness of this dish.
Now I’m sorry about the blurriness of this picture but I can reassure you that this dish is really good and it is a dish I would recommend to customers whenever they had trouble deciding on what to order. Kleftiko ($27) is a slow roasted lamb dish served with oven roasted potatoes finished with lemon olive oil. The meat of the lamb falls off the bone and it is still juicy and tender and the roasted potatoes drizzled with lemon olive oil has me craving for more! A simple hearty and comforting dish which I know will be a winner for the upcoming colder seasons.
My Greek friend is always on the hunt for finding a Greek restaurant that does souvlaki well. Honestly, her hunt was over when she tried the chicken souvlaki ($27) here, which also comes in lamb. The souvlaki is served with a simple tomato salad, tzatziki and Greek pita bread. The chicken souvlaki is well seasoned with a hint of smokiness and has a slightly crisp texture on the outside but it remains juicy on the inside.
After our savoury dishes we are given some Greek sweets as we wait for our desserts. The mint turkish delight is not overly sweet and has a refreshing mint flavour. Whilst the melomakarona is a delight to have, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are scented with honey and topped with grated walnut.
A twist on a traditional Greek dessert, the baklava icecream ($11) consists of 2 scoops of vanilla bean, rosewater and walnut ice-cream sandwiched between sheets of filo pastry which is topped with glyko karidaki (marinated walnuts imported from Cyprus) and drizzled with honey. The marinated walnut is an odd colour, and I remember some people being so unsure whether or not they can eat it because it’s black but I’d reassure them that it’s perfectly ok to eat. It has a slight soft and crunchy texture, and it’s a little sweet. The icecream is pretty much what you’d expect if the nutty mixture of baklava was to be turned into icecream; it is fragrant, slightly sweet, creamy and the crushed up walnuts provide good contrast to this smooth icecream.
There’s a 20 minute wait for the loukoumades ($12) but it’s so worth the wait! Loukoumades are Greek donuts puffs which are deep fried and then drizzle with honey and heavily dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar. These aren’t your typical donuts you’d get from Donut King instead they are kinda more like a tempura batter that has been shaped into balls and deep fried; so they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The rizogalo $9 is a rice pudding which is served chilled and usually with strawberry compote, but on this other occasion it was served with candied orange rind. Both these components provide sweetness to the creamy pudding. A nice and simple dessert if you don’t want something too sweet.
If you are here with a group of 4 or more people and want to have a bit of everything on the menu then I urge you to try the degustation menu for $45/person, which is pretty good value for an 8 course meal (excludes dessert) because by the end of the meal, you’ll be stuff to the point where you can’t move anymore! Oh and if there are zucchini flowers on the specials menu, get it and then you can thank me later. They are stuffed with a ricotta and spinach filling, coated with a light thin batter and fried and finished off with a balsamic glaze, the best zucchini flowers I’ve probably ever had!
If you ever get a chance to dine here, say hi to Pete (the owner) for me!