11 Feb Tbilisi – Holloway Road
If you’ve read my Kiev foodie post from a few weeks ago, you’ll know that I’ve recently discovered the joys of Georgian cuisine. A friend recommended Tbilisi on Holloway Road and I had to try it with immediacy! Located just a few minutes walk from Highbury and Islington station, it was really quick for Mr Munch and I to get to after our mini shopping trip on Oxford Street. Tbilisi Restaurant, named after the Georgian capital, has been serving traditional dishes for the past thirteen years. We have searched high and low for Georgian wine so we were even more excited when we saw their plentiful wine menu.
We chose two starters – a Georgian salad featuring cucumber, tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs and walnuts and Ajabsandali (ratatouille with aubergines, sweet pepper and tomatoes). You could tell that the vegetables in the Ajabsandali had been cooked low and slow to produce a sweet depth of flavour. Both dishes were fresh from coriander and the slight bite of raw onion.
I love minced meat wrapped in cabbage leaves. In Japan I’ve had some great pork, rice and cabbage wraps braised in soy sauce and mirin. Tonight’s Georgian version, called Tolma, had a seasoned minced beef filling and boiled in a light tomato based soup with quince and plums. The use of cabbage instead of a dough wrapper makes the ‘dumplings’ lighter so you don’t end up with as dense a stomach! This was finished off with a dollop of sour cream, dill and coriander. The other main course was Chashushuli, spicy beef stew with tomatoes, onions and pickles served with salad and bread. The beef was super soft and fall apart tender, mouth-wateringly good. The paprika and hint of chilli added another layer to the rich tomato sauce. An absolute winner!
We shared the baked apple dessert. I have a weakness for baked fruit and was intrigued by the description of it having a ‘heart of honey and walnuts’! It was super oozy, especially with the thick yogurt and ground walnut topping. (I posted an insta story celebrating its squidgy nature, check it out on my profile!). The apple was a true cooking apple – properly tart. Paired with the sweet honey core and scattering of sultanas everything balanced out wonderfully. A wonderful way to end our dinner.
A few of the wines looked familiar from our travels. They sell most of them by the bottle as people usually finish them as they’re so good. The only ones sold by the glass are the red Saperavi and white Hereti. Both are dry but the Saperavi has more berry notes while the Hereti is more citrus and melon-like. We chose the Saperavi as our mains were beef dishes and it was a great decision! We were talking to one of the waitresses about how hard it is to find Georgian wine in London and she gave us a few tips – if we succeed I’ll let you know on my instagram!
Whether you’re newly discovering Georgian food like I am, or are a seasoned fan, Tbilisi is a fantastic place to satisfy your cravings. The restaurant is extremely cosy, like you’re in someone’s house. They open from 6pm so would be ideal for dinner after a day of rehearsing, a good reward for a hard day’s work! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this post, please give it a thumbs up and share if you did! See you next week for more foodie recommendations!
Total receipt (2 people): £47
1x Ajabsandali 5.5
1x Georgian salad 5
1x Tolma 10.95
1x Chashushuli 11.95
1x Baked apple 4.5
2x Saperavi (glass) 9
Rating: 9/10 Delicious home-style traditional cooking