“ Address: 17 - 21 Campbell Street / Hamilton ML3 6AS / South Lanarkshire „
*Please note I don't have a clue where dooyoo got the picture from as the outside of the restaurant is completely different lol*
Costas (not to be confused with the coffee shop chain), opened over 40 years ago. They specialise in Greek, Cypriot and Med cuisine. The restaurant is run by Andri and Rico. As well as a varied menu, Costas offer a wide range of wine from the Boutari and Keo regions.
Costas is open Monday - Saturday. Lunch is served from 12pm until 3pm (4pm on a Saturday) and reopens for dinner from 5.30pm until 9.30pm.
*Location and Layout*
17-21 Campbell Street
Costas is located in Hamilton, Lanarkshire. It is a few minutes walk from the main shopping area and can be found down a side street popular with estate agents. There is the option to park a short walk from the restaurant. It is easy to miss this restaurant.
From the outside, there isn't much to look at and the restaurant does not offer much in the way of natural light as the windows are high up. The restaurant has a cloakroom at the front and the toilets are located upstairs as you enter the restaurant. The toilets are spacious, modern and clean but I did not witness any disabled toilets. The restaurant is spacious enough to allow wheelchairs to negotiate the floor.
Costas is modern yet classic in decor. It is clean throughout and is fully carpeted. The tables are arranged to accommodate various sized parties from 2 to 10 diners. The walls are tastefully adorned with various pictures and a huge map of Cyprus. We were given a table for two near the back of the restaurant. The tables are fairly close together but not too close that you feel like you are eavesdropping! We were separated from other diners by way of a patterned glass.
The tables are neatly arranged with all the relevant cuttlery present and proper fabric napkins and table cloths. Music played in the background. The ambience of the restaurant was relaxed and fairly informal. Costas welcomes business diners which we found during our visit.
*Food and Drink On Offer*
Costas offer a set lunch and dinner menu which are identical. In the evening, they also offer an al a carte menu which is much more varied.
~Lunch and Dinner Set Menu~
Lunch - 1 course (£6.95), 2 courses (£8.95) and 3 courses (£10.95)
Dinner - 2 courses (£11.95) and 3 courses (£14.95)
The set menu offers limited choice.
*Starters - soup, vegetarian salad, mussels, pate, hake gourjons or mushrooms
*Mains - fresh fish of the day, gourmet burger, beef stiffado, vegetarian meal of the day, chicken skewers
*Desserts- sweets from the trolley
The al a carte menu offers more choices which can be viewed on their website so I will give a brief run down.
*Sharing dishes including Pastourma (Cypriot sausage) and Keftedes (meat ball in sauce) - £2.50 each
*Starters - soup (£3.75), wild mushroom tartlets (£5.50) and king prawns (£7.95)
*Mains - Cyprus stuffed chicken (£12.75), Sea bass (£15.75), fillet steak (£17.95). They also offer a steak sharing platter for 2 priced at £40.00. Vegetarians have the option of vegetarian peppers (£9.85).
*Desserts - sticky toffee sponge, cheeseboard etc from £2.95 - £4.50
Drinks on offer include wine, coffee (from £1.50), spirits, beers and liquers (from £2.50) and cocktails (around £5.00). Soft drinks are priced around £1.50.
*Service With A Smile*
When we arrived, we were welcomed by a lovely and smartly dressed lady. It was fairly quiet but service soon picked up. During our dining experience, we were treated with respect (despite being rather informally dressed) and were served by two waiters. They were very friendly and one had a strong Russian accent but communication was very smooth.
We were informed of the dishes of the day before ordering. Our drinks were served quickly and our starters followed. We didn't have too long to wait between our courses and nothing was too much trouble for the waiters. We were thanked for visiting at the end of our meal.
*Our Greek Experience*
Normally we dine in the nearby cafe but with the children being at school and nursery, my sister and I decided to go somewhere that was more for adults than families. Costas was actually recommended to us by a few people. My parents always chose Costas for their anniversary dinner when they were married so they must be doing something right as my parents have been married for nearly 40 years! It used to be very expensive back then. Costas was also recommended by my brother in law and his girlfriend who dined there a few weeks ago for dinner.
I had already decided what I wanted from the online menu but it is subject to change and I ended up choosing different dishes during our visit! We ordered some cocktails to start with which were perfectly presented and complete with the umbrella. I chose a Sex on the Beach which was blended to perfection. My sister opted for a Zombie which was unusual and contained Bacardi, triple sec, orange juice, dark rum and grenadine. Priced at just under £5.00, they are certainly value for money. My sister ordered a Glaviar later on and I ordered a Coca Cola.
Costas isn't a restaurant I would take children (no childrens menu or high chairs in site) and my son definitely wouldn't eat anything they offer. The set menu is fine if you aren't overly fussy and I was looking forward to sampling something a bit different. Vegetarians do not have much choice during lunch time except for whichever vegetarian meal of the day is available.
I can understand why they only offer the set menu for lunch time as it allows the day time chef to concentrate more on just a few dishes rather than a whole menu. The lunch menu offers value for money compared to many restaurants and we both opted for a 3 course lunch. We were served two warm breadrolls with our drinks.
For my starter, I opted for the pate (homemade chicken liver pate served with sweet red onion chutney and lightly toasted bread). This was absolutely delicious and definitely tasted nicer than store bought pate. There was a decent sized portion of slightly 'bitty' pate which was full of flavour, some garnish, 4 little slices of toast and a little bundle of the chutney. Just enough to satisfy my palate and tummy as a starter. The chutney in particular was delicious and I simply piled it high on the toast. Very tasty!
My sister couldn't choose between the starter of the day which was mullet in a sauce and mussels. She opted for the mussels (fresh Scottish mussels cooked with tomato, garlic, white wine and a hint of chilli). Her mussels were served in a huge bowl and she also received a bowl for the shells and some water to clean her fingers in. She commented that there was plenty mussels and they were delicious. I tried the sauce which was really tasty and spicy. It complimented the mussels.
A short while after our starters, we were treated to our main courses. I opted for the chicken skewer (skewer of chicken. onion and peppers served with pilaf rice, sweet chilli sauce and warm pitta bread). Another ample sized portion with the right amount of each ingredient. The chicken was served off the skewer and was cooked through with a light, chargrilled flavour. The pilaf rice was plentiful, flavoursome and fluffy and the pitta breads were warm and fresh tasting. There was a pouring dish for the chilli sauce and I only had to pour a little over my meal as it was tasty enough without it. Very impressed!
My sister opted for the dish I had originally chosen - beef stiffado (a traditional Greek beef and onion casserole flavoured with rosemary and cinnamon). Her meal was quite large and she struggled to finish it so I obliged! There was plenty beef and it was incredibly tender. It was served with a few roast potatoes and some veg which were well cooked. The interesting part of this meal was the sauce complimenting it. It was certainly different from other sauces I have tried before. It was rich, warm and comforting and the cinnamon was evident but not overpowering. Definitely a winter warmer sort of meal with a twist.
Would we like to see the dessert trolley? Of course! Having a major sweet tooth, I ALWAYS have room for dessert so the trolley was duly wheeled to our table. I love the way they do that! The lovely Russian waiter explained what each plate had and as I don't like nuts, I was told which desserts didn't contain nuts. They all looked delicious and very fresh. Our cuttlery was served direct from the trolley too.
On offer, there was a Greek pastry (contains nuts), a lemon roulade (which was sponge like in appearance), a chocolate torte of some sort and toffee cheesecake. As appetising as the other desserts appeared, we both opted for the cheesecake and were promptly served a large slice with optional pouring cream. The cheesecake was fresh tasting and quite creamy. The toffee sauce was minimal but sweet enough to compliment the overall flavour of the cheesecake. The base of the cheesecake reminded me of Mars Bar cake as it was quite chocolatey.
*Recommendation and Conclusion*
By the time we had finished our 3 courses and drinks, we were stuffed and satisfied. Every dish was cooked to perfection and full of authentic flavour. I had a peek at other tables and the soup seemed a popular choice. The two business men sitting across from us were pleased with their fish dish which was served with a little basket of chips and there was the option to have it battered or covered in breadcrumbs. My brother in law and his girlfriend would like me to recommend the fillet steak and the lemon sorbet which they enjoyed one evening.
All in all we enjoyed our meal at Costas and were impressed with the standard of service. Our bill came to just short of £38.00 which included 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 desserts, 2 cocktails and 2 other drinks which is very reasonable. We rounded it up to £40.00 and paid by cash but card is also accepted. We can highly recommend this restaurant and will return soon.
Thanks for reading :)
*Please note, this review was originally posted on Ciao in May 2012 and remains unedited for dooyoo.