OtsY was on my list of “to be discovered” in Tbilisi. What better occasion than Tbilisoba to do it!
I sat on the terrace and enjoyed the views to the oldest still-standing church in Tbilisi – Anchiskhati Basilica – to my right, and to Gabriadze marionette theatre to my left. Soft music in the background just enough to let you immerse in a calm atmosphere.
I let the choice of wine in the knowledge of locals. It enchanted. Vazisubani Estate collection Kisi white dry wine was a perfect choice for my choice of meal thanks to its aromas of peaches and quince. For a starter, I ordered the Georgian salad. It surprised my taste buds with freshness of herbs, balance of flavours and generosity of proportions. The heirloom pink tomato, cucumbers, red onion paired divinely with a sublime coriander sauce.
For the main course I went with an Eggplant achma. Those familiar with the Georgian cuisine know achma – the generous cheese buttery pie. The eggplant version will satisfied the buds of any seasoned vegetarian. Layered roasted eggplant, tomato jam and Sulguni cheese, topped up by finely minced herbs of the season.
For dessert I went for a ristretto and Chocolate Crémeux with Poached Cherries & Almond “Gozinaki” – perfect balance of textures and bitter-sweet flavours to finish my meal with a memorable delicate after taste. Compliments to the chef and the kitchen!
The service is impeccable: quiet, smiling, warm, no rush- no hustle, always in control, and spreading gratitude and generosity. I warmly recommend it and wish every success to the team of OtsY!
I’ve been to gastronomic festivals in couple of countries. You usually get a programme, with a starting time, and with precise times to know when and where which chef will be cooking. @Tbilisigastroweek lured us with interesting announcements and we chose to go on 1 October, because of the promise of a seeing chefs cook and tasting meals from different countries, which set it apart from my previous “chefs of the country where the festival is” kind of thing.
So, when due to traffic we arrived 20 minutes into the event, people were gathering slowly in Ciskari by the Turtle Lake. Good, Georgians do not keep it according to schedule, I thought. We had no programme, and no one around seemed to have one. There was wine and cheese and churchkhela to welcome guests. Two hours or so into the event, some images appeared on the big screen and a chef took his place behind the table. Thanks, they obliged with an English power point and I could understand who that was. My initial bother about what seemed like a delay to me and unforeseeable sequence of the workshops retreated under the influence of a glass of Georgian wine and the majestic calm of walnut trees under which the tables were set. And I got to enjoy this “no rush no hustle “ type of organisation, because there was clearly an organisation to it. The scenery of the nearby Turtle Lake added to the rhythm of going with the flow.
I will not go into all presentations and demonstrations. Those curious can see it all on Tbilisigastroweek social media. The workshops started with Chef @Tekunia who introduced the Georgian chef Guram @Chvenirestaurant.
Chef Guram and his team made for us Street food Pork and red beans stew/ pickled Staphylea with homemade mayonnaise/Georgian “nadughi” mint cream cheese topping.
Chef @Maksutaskar from Turkey @Neolokal restaurant in Istanbul gave a lecture about Anatolian cuisine and the things we share. Very valuable in a world of division. I loved the concept he introduced – “Mothers’ nation “- a concept of transmission between mothers and daughters (and sons), beyond borders and nations. The image of him and his mother was heart-warming. He also shared another type of maps – a culinary map, to look differently perhaps at the world we see. He advocated for cooking as a tribute to tradition mindful of adding sustainability to it.
Congratulations to the team of @Tbilisigastroweek for their first such event. Keep organising them, in your own unique style. We will gladly oblige.
Café Littera introduces itself as “Exquisite European cuisine with a touch of Modern Georgian dishes.” Nested in the idyllic inner court of the Writers House in Sololaki district of Tbilisi, it welcomes guests for lunch and dinner. Reservations are highly recommended, as the dozen or so of tables are in high demand.
The Chef Tekuna Gacheladze is known in Georgia and beyond. I felt that her travels abroad inspired her to bring a lightness to the Georgian cuisine otherwise widely known for its generosity in taste and quantities.
We were warmly greeted and seated at our table in a matter of minutes. The tables are reasonably far from each other, current rules obliging. This gave us a sense of an almost private dinner.
The English menu is sufficiently clear, though if this is your first experience with this cuisine, the waiter will kindly explain what is a dolma or Pkhali. For entrée, the menu is generous with 6-7 dishes of dips, appetizers and salads. We went for a smoked eggplant Pkhali with pomegranate and Lavash, spinach dip, dolma with wild greens and yogurt foam and a strawberry and guda cheese salad. The portions are of reasonable size to our taste. I enjoyed the way flavours surprised me in the strawberry and guda salad with a splash of a lightly acid dressing on the roquettes it comes with.
From the main dishes, we tried the mixed mushrooms with artichokes and baked Seabass with lemon Safran sauce on wild greens. The mushrooms gave us a sense of travelling back to our grandmother’s kitchen and filled us with the warmth of a dish made with love. The seabass was good, though less exciting to our taste, perhaps because of the slight bitterness of the wild greens it comes with. We paired the food with a bottle of Tvishi Marani, upon the waiter’s recommendation, which proved a great choice for our mood that evening. We left the otherwise very appealing desserts for next time.
I warmly recommend the place for a moment of indulgence with your loved ones.
This is my first restaurant review based exclusively on our experience and perceptions.
You can see more pictures on Cafe Littera instagram account – these two will give you a flavour of the atmosphere: