Wednesday 26 September 2012

Little Georgia

It’s difficult with new fades in the restaurant scene emerging ever so often not to fall into certain, in my case burger related, eating out patterns. After what seems an endless sequence of burger joint reviews (and yes with some exciting new ones opening soon they won’t end quite yet), I thought it was about time to explore some of the more unusual cuisines London has to offer!
Not many of you probably know that I study history and not just any history but the history of Eastern Europe in particular. It’s not only an incredibly interesting area in terms of history, having gone through everything from fascism to socialism, from dictatorship to revolution but also harbors a diverse cuisine which until I visited LittleGeorgia I had never really tried. After doing a little research I found out that Georgian is generally regarded as the haute cuisine of Eastern Europe, due to its geographic location containing both Middle Eastern and traditionally Russian elements. With growing anticipation my friend Isabella and I headed to one of the two Little Georgia’s that have sprung up in London, a short walk from Angel tube station. Of course it is always difficult not to go into the gimmicky when trying to make a restaurant look distinctively representative of one country but Little Georgia manages to create a cosy atmosphere with subtle nods to its Georgian heritage, particularly the old black and white family pictures and old sewing machines carefully dotted around the room, without going into Disneyland territory. 
Service was friendly and helpful particularly as faced with a big menu of unknown dishes we needed a bit of help choosing. Georgian food is all about the sharing and far away from the meat heavy dishes that I feared would dominate. Fresh, well seasoned and light it was not what I expected at all. The meze platter was served with cheese filled bread, not just any bread though a bread famous throughout Eastern Europe and a real highlight of our meal. Baked fresh for each order, this was probably the most flavourful and moorish cheesy bread I have ever had. The mezze platter itself offered an interesting mix of Middle Eastern, the spinach pate and chargrilled peppers sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and Russian, my favorite of the platter carrots mixed with yogurt and cumin seeds. This fusion was visible in the rest of the dishes we tried. My blini (a thin pancake filled with cream cheese) was served with a light beetroot salad and yogurt and had an almost Scandinavian lightness to it while the pepper stew won with its subtle spices and rich tomato sauce. I didn’t leave stuffed as often the case in my burger feasts (hey at least they are always of the veggie kind) but with the satisfaction of having had the chance to sample a wide array of different flavours and textures, all freshly prepared and presented beautifully. 
Little Georgia has the feel of a real family restaurant yet also seems aware of the steep competition it faces in London by offering a sophisticated yet authentic representation of what Georgian food entails, making this a real gem of a place that has made me want to be more adventurous when it comes to trying cuisines away from the save Italian/Japanese/Mexican one tends to go for.


mtg said...

mmm, your pictures make me hungry for my native Georgian food. I am from the country of Georgia but have been living in the US for almost 19 years now. However, let me correct something. I don't know of any Russian elements in true Georgian cuisine. If you further study Georgian history or cuisine you'll find out that what I say it true. Yes, I agree there are Middle Eastern influences. Just because that restaurant serves russian blini doesn't mean one can assume that whole Georgian cuisine has russian influence. Anyway, I hope I live to the day when one can talk about Georgia, about our culture, cuisine etc. without feeling they HAVE to mention dreaded Russia. If you study a little bit more about Georgia you will find out that though small, they have very authentic culture etc. and we don't need to be compared with anybody else. Anyway, thank you for doing this review.

. said...

Middle Eastern food is the best. I'm drooling.

The Lovelorn

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