26 March 2024

Experience exuberant hospitality and flavourful Greek dining at Kivotos Wine Bar

| Lucy Ridge
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Trio of dips with flatbread.

Dips and flatbread, Kivotos Wine Bar. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Kivotos Wine Bar is a Greek restaurant bringing the best of Mediterranean food to Braddon. Run by Greek chef George Giannoulis and business partner Anita Ling, the pair have created a welcoming space that will transport your taste buds to Athens and the islands beyond.

I visited on a weeknight for dinner with a friend. From the outside, it would be easy to miss the restaurant tucked under a block of apartments on Mort Street. But the inside is surprisingly spacious, and I like the jars of preserved lemons and Greek pottery lining the shelf above the kitchen.

Perusing the menu to a soundtrack of Greek pop music, we decide that the best course of action is to let George take the lead with the $70 “share the love” menu.

First, he brings us a trio of dips with still-warm flatbread. The taramasalata – topped with fish roe – is creamy and delicious, and we keep dipping back into the moreish fava bean and caramelised onion dip. The spicy fetta dip also has a brilliant smokey undertone, but we try to restrain ourselves because more food is already coming!

George Giannoulis and Anita Ling

George Giannoulis and Anita Ling, Kivotos Wine Bar. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Fried kefalotiri cheese (similar to halloumi) is dusted with pistachio dukkah and drizzled with honey vinegar. It’s sweet, sour, chewy, salty and absolutely delicious. We both agree that we could easily eat a lot of it! Next, we enjoy spanakorizo arancini. Unlike the Italian version, which is generally cheese-heavy and often stuffed with meat, these arancini are herby and fresh with a very tasty preserved lemon and black garlic sauce.

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We are offered the choice between prawn saganaki and chargrilled octopus. I absolutely love octopus but don’t often have the chance to order it, so I’m delighted with this dish. The coiled tentacle of octopus is perfectly cooked, absolutely tender, and expertly charred. Seared baby cos lettuce, fresh dill and preserved lemon all make tasty accompaniments.

Grilled octopus tentacle on a plate

Grilled octopus Kivotos Wine Bar. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

We loosen our belts before tucking into a plate of tender roast meats served with herby roast potatoes and horiatiki – better known as the humble Greek salad. The lamb is particularly good, and while we struggle to finish the whole plate, we give it our best shot!

Kivotos is, at heart, a wine bar, and there’s plenty to choose from. Greek wines are well outside my wheelhouse, but we enjoy the sparkling rosé, which is bright and fresh and pairs nicely with our meal.

A bowl of greek salad, plate of sliced, roast meats and a bowl of roast potatoes with herbs

Roast meats, Greek salad and potatoes at Kivotos Wine Bar. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

We are also treated to a taste of mastiha, a rare Greek spirit made solely on the island of Chios. Distilled from tree sap, there’s a slight piney scent and it is dangerously smooth.

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We are treated to a taste of all three dishes on offer for dessert. The chocolate olive oil mousse is served with a tangy raspberry sorbet and is smooth and decadent. The baklava cheesecake with pistachio ice cream is a fun twist on the classic dessert, and we enjoy the crisp filo pastry and creamy, tangy filling.

Two Greek desserts

Dessert at Kivotos Wine Bar. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Just when I’m about to burst, George brings out a plate of freshly fried loukoumades (Greek doughnuts), which are amazing. I am too full to manage more than one, but my dessert-loving friend polishes them off and declares them her favourite dish of the evening.

While both business partners have fine dining training, the atmosphere here is relaxed and personable. Chef George often brings out the dishes personally, chatting with customers about each plate. The exuberant hospitality and brilliant food are a winning combination and well worth a visit.

Kivotos Wine Bar is located at 33 Mort Street, Braddon. It is open from midday to 11.30 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.
Follow Kivotos on Facebook or Instagram, or book via their website.

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