Living on the East Rand doesn’t offer a hungry foodie many options for a decent meal. So when NIKOS opened their doors in September last year I couldn’t wait to give it a try… having said that I had to go back a second time for this review because I enjoyed it so much the first time I didn’t take a single photo.
While the NIKOS Coalgrill Greek restaurants form part of a franchise the Benoni branch is owned and run by a local Greek family who are very hands-on. This adds to the authenticity making the restaurant a slice of Greece in our neighbourhood.
The decor can best be described as Mediterranean chic. The whitewashed wood, blue patterned tiles and themed accessories all work together to make you feel like you’re set to dine in Santorini. You have the option of sitting inside or outside on the covered deck.
On both visits, we were welcomed by the friendly staff who make you feel at home. After we were ushered to our table by our friendly waitress Kiki, we decided what we wanted to drink. Nikos offers the usual selection of drinks. We chose to have cocktails, because well cocktails are always a good idea, OPA! I had the Cucumber and Rosemary G&T and J had the Strawberry and Lime G&T. Both were refreshing and delicious but I would definitely recommend you try the Cucumber and Rosemary G&T (J would disagree with me here).
If you’re not a cocktail person and beer is your thing you have to try the NIKOS by Devil’s Peak Lager which is on tap and comes in two sizes 330ml and thirsty. They also have a pretty good wine selection.
When you first lay eyes on the menu it is a little intimidating but your waiter will be on hand to help you work through it. There are so many good options that you won’t know where to start so just pick something and start planning your second visit. Once you’ve placed your order its sent off to the kitchen where the expertly trained kitchen staff work their magic. Most meat items are grilled on the purpose made NIKOS coalgrill for those authentic flavours.
On this visit, we started with Spanakopita (Spinach & Feta Pies) and Zucchini Fries – these are seriously GOOD. I can also recommend the Santorini Baked Feta & Phyllo, Hummus Loaded, Falafels and the Pita Bread with either Tzatziki (Greek yoghurt, garlic, cucumber and spices) or Htipiti (Red pepper, chilli and feta) but I’m sure it’s all as good as the dishes we’ve had.
For the main event, we ordered the Kleftico (Lamb shank), Prawns (available with lemon butter or the NIKOS spicy sauce) and the Roasted Cauliflower – which is amazing and while its a side dish it can be served as a main dish if you’re a vegetarian. If none of these grabs your fancy I can also recommend the Souvlaki, Kota Classic Chicken and the Skinny Lamb Chops. Note if you’re coming hungry and you’re keen on the Skinny Lamb Chops either order a starter, a couple of sides or up your portion to the 1/2 kilo option.
At this stage, we were pretty stuffed but powered through when we saw what dessert options where available. We ‘jumped’ into a Pavlova and a Corrugated Baklava which were both out of this world. I can also recommend the Loukoumades with chocolate and nuts.
To sum up, everything was exceptional from the well-prepared food that delivered some big flavours to the fantastic service. We never once felt neglected and it was like we were part of the family. Ευχαριστώ NIKOS, we’ll be back!
Note: Even though we ordered separately the whole idea is to share. So when you pop in make sure you order dishes for the whole table and enjoy a little bit of everything, after all, it is a Greek restaurant.