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Taste of Culinary Revolution in Tbilisi

Telegraph’s journalist shares his view about culinary in Tbilisi:

”Before visiting a country for the first time I will usually have some background knowledge and restaurant recommendations from friends. This was not the case with Georgia, which I visited recently to explore its burgeoning foodie scene.

So I went with an open mind, not really knowing what to expect, and when I arrived I instantly fell in love with the place. The people are brilliant, and in the first restaurant I visited the owners gave me lots of tips for things to do and places to explore. They were so welcoming.

The Georgian capital Tbilisi is a city that’s really changing, with the younger generation breaking through with trendy cafés and bars, serving cocktails when people would typically have had beer and wine and roasting their own coffee beans.

The Danish chef René Redzepi, co-founder of Noma, recently said that Georgian food is the most underrated and I totally agree with him. It’s still very traditional, lots of vegetables, bread, butter. I ate a lot of khachapuri – a delicious Georgian bread pastry with butter and egg – and Georgian dumplings, which resemble Chinese dumplings and are filled with minced meat, garlic and other spices.

I went to a lot of restaurants doing amazing vegetable dishes too, so if you’re a vegetarian you won’t have a problem, and they really do focus on fresh local ingredients. Georgians are very proud of their food and it’s easy to see why.

Navigating my way around these restaurants and points of interest couldn’t have been easier. When I go on a trip like this I always prefer to walk when possible, and I rely heavily on my map to do that. So it’s essential to have reliable coverage. I also have to research on the go, highlighting the restaurants I want to visit before I arrive in a particular city, and thanks to Vodafone’s 4G coverage this was all really easy to do.

At the Rooms Hotel, where I was staying, they offer the Insider’s Tour, a tour of the city led by a local guide away from the tourist spots. We visited a few old houses, some locals’ houses too, and really got a feel for day-to-day living there while also being taught a bit about the history. This is a great way to get a feel for Georgian culture in between stops at the varied eateries.

A real highlight of this trip was my visit to Keto and Kote, a fairly new restaurant housed in a converted mansion on top of a hill overlooking Tbilisi. Its delicious and very reasonable Georgian wine, sampled while sitting in its grand courtyard while looking across the city, was one of the nicest parts of the trip.

Wine lovers should also make for the wine bar 8000 Vintages, which serves everything from amber and orange wine to delicious Georgian whites. You order by the glass and the staff are really keen to talk you through the vintages and make sure you have something special.
Tbilisi is a beautiful city: the Georgian houses are stunning and the people are so friendly they will let you just wander into their houses and look around. It’s like one big community. For people looking to capture some amazing photographs, the old town especially is spectacular and for anyone looking for a food-based break away from the usual hotspots, add Georgia to you list right now. ”