Sunday afternoon was spent watching “Up!” and that’s where we decided to have lunch prior to the movie. Kouzina, a Greek restaurant chain, is what I liken to La Porchetta which is a very successful Italian restaurant chain in Australia serving fairly mediocre Aussie-Italian fare. The founding restaurant is in Southgate and two more restaurants have been established in two areas with large Greek populations, Doncaster and Taylors Lakes. Like La Porchetta, Kouzina doesn’t attempt to shock nor does it really put much effort into the quality of their food. So when a lady from work recommended it to me, I was skeptical to say the least. I did, however, end up following her recommendation, and because she IS Greek I figured that she knew what she was talking about.
So we rocked up at 11am which is ridiculously early for even a Sunday lunch but the restaurant was already open so we went straight to it. In addition to an extensive a la carte menu, Kouzina‘s lunch menu consists of what I would call Greek-Aussie fare such as lamb burgers with tzatziki and souvlaki’s. There was also a $25 p/h lunch banquet which sounded like a good deal so we ended up ordering that. Upon seeing two 20-something Asians at the table, the waiter asked us if we had ever had Greek food before. I wasn’t sure what to think when he asked us that … I mean, it was probably an honest question but did he assume that Asians generally know nothing about Greek food and was there to patronise us? I told him that we’ve had Greek food many times and for some reason, he looked surprised and I guess that was that…
When the waiter asked us what we would like to drink, we said ‘just water, please.’ He didn’t ask whether we wanted mineral, still or tap but in a normal restaurant, the waiter would normally give you tap water just to be on the safe side.
Homemade dips and pita bread. From L-R: transalamata, marinated olives, tzatziki, char-grilled capsicum, carrot dip, feta cheese and eggplant dip. The usual suspects and nothing too extraordinary. +1 for the warm pieces of pita bread that was gently drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and rosemary, though.
Dolmades – they were pretty bland, to be honest.
Foreground: kalamaraki (calamari, duh). They were lightly fried and sprinkled with salt and pepper and served with ouzo aioli which, to me, just tasted like thickened cream. The calamari, although bit soggy, weren’t TOO bad though.
Background: spanakopita. I’m used to having spanakopita in its traditional form – cheese and spinach pie, cut into slices. I did like Kouzina’s interpretation of it – cheese and spinach in a filo pastry spring roll.
Lamb and chicken souvlaki and lamb keftedes (Greek meatballs). I will give props for the meats being cooked perfectly – the lamb was beautifully grilled almost-but-not-quite medium rare and the keftedes were tender. Sadly, they were not the best souvlaki’s I’ve ever had and would choose ones cooked at my local fish and chip shop for $7 over these ones any day.
Loukanika (Greek pork sausages). I’m not sure if they were homemade or not but either way, they were pretty nice. Slightly spicy and tender, they were too good not to leave unfinished on the plate even though I was extremely full at this stage.
Greek salad and oregano fries. The salad was identical to the 10 billion I’ve had at other places and the chips were just ‘meh.’ We didn’t finish either of these because we were too full, to be honest.