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Top Billing Visits Kozis A Fusion Of Greek And SA Cuisine
Maps heads to Greece to catch up with a Greek family who lived in South Africa for years but returned home to open a family fusion restaurant
Hailing from Greece, Basil Tzanos immigrated from the Mediterranean island to South Africa back in the sixties where he met his wife & true love Stella. It was here in the motherland that Basil found his success in the supermarket game & planted his roots with Stella raising four children before returning to Greece.
It was a time of turmoil for the family of six to return to their roots as the country was going through an economic crisis in 2010 when the Tzanos members hit the ground in Greece. They did, however, have a unique plan, one so daring that it actually worked.
It was Kozi Tzanos who had the innovative idea of opening a restaurant that was a fusion of the two cuisines he had grown up with and love, this being Greek cuisine and the braai-infused culinary wonders of South African dining.
On March 26 2010, the doors of Kozi’s Meat N Eat opened. It was a leap of faith but one that Kozi was set on.
Maps visits the family-run restaurant where he is indulged in the simple yet delicious cuisine on offer. Everyone has a part to play hear. Korina handles PR, Dimitra is in charge of the graphic design & brothers Thanasis & Kosta aka Kozi where the restaurant name was aptly derived from, are in charge of the mingling of the Greek & South African flavours.
The restaurant doesn’t only sport a unique & delicious approach to fusion dining. The decor while humble was carefully curated by sibling Dimitra who brings her master's degree in graphic design to the forefront in every element, from the menus to the art and place settings. The art is inspired by a number of different African cultures including Zulu pieces and Ndebele artworks.
Maps tucks into a meal with the family whom all contribute to serving a flurry of delicious dishes. African Portobello mushrooms stuffed with gouda cheese & chutney, “Honey Delight” - a dish featuring grilled halloumi cheese wrapped in prosciutto & ribeye steaks with African spices are the name of the game here.
It is Stella Tzanos who is the genius behind the sauces, Map learns as he is served delicious bite-sized servings of steak, which have become popular with the Greeks who tend to opt for smaller cuts.
So what made this Greek family so successful? Perhaps it was the fact that they came together in a time of crisis for their homeland. Putting their collective talents together, the Tzanos family launched their African/Greek fusion dining experience with a mere nine tables & in the eight years that they have been serving up their unique flavours they have gone on to become a landmark in this culinary destination.
As they say, the proof is in the souvlaki. Take it from Maps & the Tzanos family, the message to all South Africans visiting Athens is simple, they’re having a braai and you’re all invited!