Tbilisi is one of London’s oldest Georgian restaurants and, to our minds, one of the best. Behind a nondescript frontage, the Holloway Road howling outside, it’s a relaxing spot with mustard or dark red walls, wooden flooring and comfortable leather chairs. Knick-knacks are minimal: the odd tourist poster and a stylish display of Georgian wines (try the concentrated red Napareuli).
Starters consist of three soups and a choice of meze dips. The quiet, congenial waiter should perhaps have clarified that each ‘combination’ of a bread and two dips was meant for two diners (we ordered two, which would have made an ample entire meal), but each dish was a delight: lovely doughy flatbread filled with feta-like cheese (khachapuri) or mashed beans (lobiani); a spicy liver stew with pomegranate seeds; russian salad sprinkled with fresh dill; ratatouille-like ajabsabdali; and ispanakhi, a light spinach and walnut blend.
Main-course stews of chashushuli (tender beef in a tomato-based sauce) and harcho (chicken with a ground walnut sauce, rather like Persian fesenjoon, served with gomi, a polenta-like rice and cornmeal mix) were also appealing. Finish, if you’re able, with tangy baked apple stuffed with ground walnuts and raisins, and waddle off, contented, into the night.