A few café chairs are placed, rather optimistically, outside on the pavement bordering the chilly A24. But inside, it’s cosy and warm. Languid staff read out the day’s specials from the blackboard: dishes with odd Georgian names, from the Caucasus.
The Georgian staff wear their nationality and cuisine with pride, but are savvy enough to know that their customers are more likely to order muesli than tworozhniki (Georgian pancakes) at seven in the morning.
So although The Georgian does borshch, blinis and even grape pudding with walnuts, it also serves croissants, scrambled eggs, club sandwiches and toast with Marmite.
Of the Georgian dishes we tried, khachapuri – cheese bread – was the highlight, the pastry soft and flaky and the cheese within soft, warm and oozing.
The pelmenis – ravioli-like dumplings – were also hearty, wintry food, filled with minced pork and beef and served in a minted yogurt sauce. Ask for a side order of ajika – a spicy relish – to pep up the stodge.
The fasting tradition of the Georgian Orthodox Church created months of meat-free days on the calendar, and so Georgia has a good repertoire of vegetarian dishes. One such dish resembles the French galette, or buckwheat pancake; it was filled with herby greens,with some cooked-but-cold mushrooms served on the side.
I’m not sure what the Georgian Orthodox Church decrees on cake, but if it’s bad for you, then these Georgians must be sinners. The counter groans under platters of appetising confections made from fruit, cream and sugar, most of them baked. The coffee’s good, but the coffee grinder’s very loud.
The Georgian has recently started opening for dinner dinner from Fri-Sun – and the plan is to keep it BYO, with no charge for corkage.