Everything here seemed to be served “with soul”! | Mia Naprta


Have you ever eaten at a place where the owner sits down with you and reads you his favourite poetry? I wanted to check out this Georgian cafe for a while, but somehow it never made it to the top of my list. As one of my friends lives 3 minutes away, we agreed to meet there this Tuesday. I wanted a cup of tea to start with, but they don't do tea. Instead I got a cafe solo (a Spanish take on an espresso), served in a tiny retro cup and a matching saucer that would not look out of place in my grandma's kitchen back in the 80s. This place looked promising...

Pjali - a Georgian take on tapas

My friend arrived, starving, so we ordered a couple of typical Georgian dishes to share. First there was Pjali - a Georgian take on tapas. We got ten tiny corn flour pancakes topped with beetroot, spinach, carrot, something like a soft cheese and aubergine with nuts. Essentially, the first four items had a texture of spreads or thick dips, but were formed in balls the size somewhere between marbles and golf balls. I loved the presentation on a colourful tile and wood board by Con Alma. Everything here seemed to be served “with soul”! The taste was excellent too. Fresh, flavourful, herby… The owner, charming Dato, explained to us that pjali were seasoned with a mix of Georgian spices, leaving a veil of mystery over what exactly those spices were. I have never been to Georgia, but now I want to go.

An open bread “parcel”, filled with Suluguni cheese, egg and butter
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The second dish we tried was Jachapuri Adjariano – an open bread “parcel”, filled with Suluguni cheese, egg and butter. It was brought to the table semi prepared and Dato proceeded to mix the soft ingredients in front of us, at the same time explaining how to eat this dish so that the creamy, runny filling does not spill out onto the presentation board. Another great dish and cool interactive experience! There is a legend that Adjarian symbolises the life of sailors who are expected at home. It is shaped like a boat, the cheese represents the ground and the egg is the Sun, a symbol of life!

As we ate, I looked around and enjoyed the mish-mash of styles that made up this unique cafe. My friend and I were sitting in nicely aged Chesterfield armchairs, while across the table from us there was a modern armchair upholstered in a bold floral pattern. The rest of the place was a mix of cool modern chairs and what Dato described as “treasures found in recycling bins”. In its past life this was a typical Mallorcan bar, but Georgians made it quirky and comfy. The art on the walls is also mostly recycled. There is a Modi sign (meaning: “come in”) sculpted out of an old cable on a fishing net adorned with brightly coloured plastic bits taken from pool lane dividers. Super original! I also liked the sea and boat themed art by Katrin Starostenko, a.k.a. Artista Eco.

What followed, after we paid and chatted a bit more, was pretty incredible for a random January Tuesday afternoon... Dato joined us at the table and told us a story about his family finding this old, alchemist-like recipe for red wine back home. They were making a limited batch of just 150 numbered bottles per year. Each year, their hand painted labels depicted a different balcony, typical of houses in Tbilisi. As we tried the wine, Dato grabbed a book from a nearby shelf and read us a poem by his favourite young poet. We didn't understand the words, but we felt the emotion. Then he read us another poem, which somehow touched me even more. As he told us that this one was about a father, my eyes glazed over... My sadness caused by the loss of my own father was back, this time mixed with wonder... What are the chances that this stranger, who I've just met, becomes a friend within an hour? What are the chances that, out of the whole book, he reads us a poem about a father!? This place was truly special and I will definitely be back!