Thursday, March 22, 2007

Urban rustic

Fancied eating out today, what with having no veg in the house, no time to buy any, and anyway....

I'd had my eye for a long time on 'In Vino Veritas', a restaurant at No 8 Kikodze street near Freedom (Tavisupleba) Square, which belongs to my favour theatre director and actor, Robert Sturua and Zaza Papuashvili. Let me rephrase that - the name and the design belong to these two. No points on originality on the name. I wonder how this all works - do they get a cut of the takings each day, but don't need to run the restaurant?

It's in the basement of a block of flats, and made to look a bit like a cave, with exposed 'roof beams' and so on. It's not as bright as the picture on the website. On entering I found myself facing a startled waitress who could not quite deal with me....She went to get help, and after that everything was fine. It seemed that two parties were going on at the same time, so a loose customer did not quite fit into the regime.

Foodwise it seems like an average Georgian restaurant, with all the usual salads, soups, kebabs, shashliks, khatchapuris and main courses. I had the wonderful tomato and cucumber salad with walnuts (always to die for) and a beefsteak with boiled potatoes. Eastern European beefsteaks are not like a fillet steak (maybe no beefsteak is like a fillet steak?); they are usually a lump of meat beaten to within an inch of its life, often with a fried egg on top. I had the vision of the fillet steak, but the reality of the dead lump of meat. It could have been worse and covered in crumbs. The boiled potatoes were very nice, as they should be, at a price of almost a Euro each. The cappucino at the end was made from cappucino powder. As it happens, I like that but it ain't cappucino. The wine only came in bottles, and since I always have a wee glass while practicing the piano after work, I did not really need another bottle, even to take home, especially now that I have discovered how to buy wine loose.

So, the food is averagely good - I noticed that they do the shashliks straight in the restaurant, so they should be very good. The atmosphere is quite nice (perhaps better if a party does not take over almost all the tables in the room, leaving one lonesome table for other customers) and the owners are very nice as is the staff once they get over their surprise. You can probably get the same quality of food elsewhere for less - in the end it depends what you want to pay for, I suppose.