Kolonaki: your new go-to for amazing Greek food in Joburg
This new addition to Parkhurst's restaurant strip specialises in meze with a modern twist and everything is made in-house – even the cheeses
“I wanted to create a brand that holds true to our roots and that creates a warm and welcoming restaurant full of individual character offering fantastic hospitality and great food.” This is the vision of Vassilios “Basil” Holiasmenos, chef and owner of the new family-run Kolonaki Greek Kouzina on Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue.
Basil lived and studied in the UK, before “burning his hands” with deputy sous chef of the Savoy London Mark Emberton. Years after opening his first restaurant in London, Basil is now back in South Africa to help revitalise his family’s business. “Our father, Theodore Holiasmenos, started Ciao Baby Cucina and is a prominent restauranteur across four countries,” he says.
Now, Theodore is helping Basil and his brother Mike get Kolonaki off the ground with his wealth of knowledge in the industry. Mike also worked in the hospitality industry in the UK, including Jamie’s Italian, The Pot Kiln Mike Robinson Celerity Chef and Greene King IPA in the UK.
The brothers describe Kolonaki as a meze kitchen, which means it’s all about sharing. “We want a welcoming restaurant full of individual character that has a community focus,” says Mike.
Everything is made in-house – even the cheeses
The seasonal menu features traditional recipes with a modern twist, and everything is made in-house – even the cheeses.
Their meze items are their current top hits and are definitely worth sampling, from the cured ouzo and beetroot salmon with homemade yoghurt, to prawns kataifi with strawberry and almonds, to deep fried calamari with tirosalata.
There’s also a good selection of small plates like dolmathakia, halloumi, and falafel, as well as jars, dips and salads and various yiro and grill choices.
They offer a selection of classic cocktails – including non-alcoholic ones – that are focussed on sharing just like our food. “We’ve designed a style of ‘treasure chests’ to be ordered by groups, which are big sharing cocktails using my recipes.”
The restaurant’s interior has a definite Greek feel with its arches and whitewashed exterior walls, but its modern wooden Houtlander furniture, hanging rattan basket pendant lights, bamboo ceiling and pops of greenery in the form of oversized potted palms give it a warm yet sophisticated feel that’s perfect for suburban Jozi.
It’s also raised from the road, so you’re spared a lot of the traffic noise, and its outdoor section is perfect for still summer nights. If you want authentic Greek food in an upmarket yet relaxed setting, Kolonaki is your new go-to.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za