“Kuzina – eat’s Greek” is the newest restaurant to open in the new Cape Quarter, and opened more than a month later than the other three restaurants in the Piazza (Vanilla, Cru Cafe and Voila!).   Its opening has been eagerly awaited, being great fans of Greek food, but a first visit for lunch on Wednesday was a disappointment.

We arrived just after 14h00, and every table at every restaurant in the piazza was taken.  We were lucky to find one vacant table at Kuzina.   A piazza setting suits Kuzina, it being a Greek style restaurant.   Lovely white square tables from Greece and white chairs placed close together create a cozy atmosphere.

A strong marketing hand is evident, with the staff all wearing a turquoise blue T-shirt or golf-shirt, and the menus are attractive, well-laid out and easy to understand, despite listing about 100 items.

Our waitress Jennifer tried really hard to look after us and to give good service, but one suspects that she had to battle to get the orders from the overloaded kitchen.   She wears beautiful blue “sapphire” earrings to match her shirt.

The menu is divided in sections:  Feta (four options, including peppers stuffed with feta and olives, and the pips of the peppers as well, not tasty at all, R 45 for three smallish peppers; feta sesame; feta balls; and bougiourti- feta baked with tomato, onion, peppers and chillies), Meat Mezes (soutzoukakia, beef stifatho, chicken mastiha, keftethes, pork fillet, chicken souvlaki, yiros and sheftalia, ranging from R 35 – R 48), Vegetable Mezes (include spanakopita, tyroptika, haloumopita, cheese croquettes, keftethes, dolmades and haloumi, ranging from R 27 – R 35), Seafood Mezes (include oysters, prawn saganaki, octupus, kingklip, and mussels, ranging from R 39 – R 65, the oysters being SQ), Dips (ten dips include the traditional tzatziki, hummous, and taramo salata, R 24 each), Salads (include interesting ones in addition to the traditional village salad, such as a watermelon salad, strawberry salad, and an endive salad, ranging from R 42 – R 62),  Pasta (6 dishes include seafood pasta, hiloptes and strifto, ranging from R 52 – R 78), “Greekooking” (including an unexciting and expensive Moussaka at R 79, yemista and kleftiko, ranging from R 59 – R 129); Grill dishes (includes chops, prawns and beef fillet, prices ranging from R 68 – R 179 for the prawns), shared platters (including seafood at R 450, and two lobster ones at R 320 – R 350), and desserts (including baklava, halva ice creams and six others, all costing R 38).

The pita bread was rubbery, the feta sesame and haloumi good, but the latter rubbery when it became cold.   The tyroptika was also proclaimed good.

The menu contains quite some fine print (literally), including the usual 10 % service fee for tables of 6 or more, that prices can change without notice, that 15 minutes should be allowed for dishes requiring client amendments, and strangely, “Most major foreign currency accepted” (is this legal?) and “Please note that during our peak times a minimum charge of R 80 for non-diners will apply”!   It is unclear what the latter means!

It is likely that Kuzina will become the definitive Greek restaurant in Cape Town, as few Greek restaurants –  other than the low-key Marieka’s in Bakoven – are known in Cape Town.   A good sign is when Greeks come to a Greek restaurant, which is what we observed when we popped in for a coffee one evening a week prior.   That day had been a nightmare, the Manager Ian told us, with teething problems, being the second day of opening.   Monique was the Manager on duty at our lunchtime visit, and she apologised for the lukewarm feedback we gave her, begging us to come back.   The extensive menu does beckon one again, but one hopes that some real Greek chefs – or even better a Greek Mama or two – are in the kitchen to “kook” the traditional Greek dishes.

Kuzina, Cape Quarter, tel     021 418 8000    , www.kuzina.co.za (still under construction!)

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com