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30 Oct 2017
If I never heard anyone say 'hidden gem' ever again, I wouldn't miss it from our collective lexicon. However, I'm struggling to resist employing this overused phrase when describing Oikos. Located on a nondescript, suburban stretch of shops near the airport, Oikos serve up comforting, rustic and delicious food in a locale normally reserved for Four Squares and fish 'n' chip shops.
Oikos – said 'ee-kos' – describes itself as a 'Hellenic' restaurant, which is basically a cooler way of saying it's Greek. The eatery's name refers to both 'family' and 'home', which is reflected in the physical space. It's small but certainly cosy, with rich green hues and wooden textures to make you feel right at home.
We arrived at Oikos on an auspicious evening, having just heard Winston deliver his final judgement, so we were in high spirits. Having quaffed a few flutes of fizz at an earlier engagement, the sight of the restaurant's Oikos-labelled house wines was appealing. Settling for a suitably festive Marlborough-made rosé, we chatted jubilantly with our waitress, who suggested we order plenty of dishes to share. The style of the menu encourages a bit of friendly sharing, but if that's not your style you can take a more traditional approach or go for the set menu.
We started with some tzatziki ($5) with roast potatoes ($7) as a gluten-free alternative to the more traditional pita bread ($4) to accommodate my coeliac companion. The crispy little spuds were seasoned generously with oregano and lemon, and we mopped up the tangy, fresh tzatziki merrily. I'd heard great things about the crumbed feta ($12), and although my pal was stoked to hear that the printed menu had missed the 'GF' annotation on the dish so she could indeed eat it, I was less than stoked to share these morsels. Crusted with sesame, honey and thyme, the contrast between the sweet, crunchy exterior and the salty, soft curd was ideal.
The four generous skewers of free-range chicken ($16) were marinated in plenty of garlic, served with a dish of whipped spiced feta with wild oregano. I love rustic snags, and the chunky, wild-tasting pork sausage ($17) fit the bill, served on a bed of tangy, soft red capsicum. We also ordered two veg dishes – a half eggplant that was baked with tomato, mint, whipped feta and garlic ($14) and some sauteed veg with lemon and olive oil ($7) on the side.
We'd intentionally saved some room for dessert. Opting for the most gluten-heavy option on the menu to avoid any mention of sharing, the loukoumades ($10) – Greek honey doughnuts – with crushed nuts and cream were a dream. In the best and most nostalgic way, the dish reminded me of those little bags of fresh doughnuts covered in cinnamon sugar you get from trucks at school fairs. My pal's set yoghurt ($10) was panna cotta-esque, topped with fruit, brittle, rosewater and little toasty crumbs of white chocolate. We grilled owner Theo Papouis on the traditional Greek liquor offerings – I enjoyed a Greek brandy on ice but wished I'd gone for the vinsanto; this tasty little dessert wine was the icing on the cake of a beautiful meal.
Oikos has been open since June but it's taken me months to commit to leaving the central city to try it. It was well worth the Uber trip. The restaurant is located at 382 Broadway in Miramar, and bookings are highly recommended.