How has it been going since you opened Colchis?
Quite busy. We get a mixture of people who know Georgia, expats from the former Soviet Union and locals who have travelled to Russia. Georgian cuisine is quite big in Russia so most people who’ve been to Russia have probably tried Georgian cuisine there.
Also we have a very nice bar so we have people who come for a drink, opened minded locals who want to try new things.
Why did you decide to open a Georgian restaurant in London?
There are a few already existing but there was nothing that had an offering of this kind. It’s a more sophisticated offering here, a wide range of flavours of Georgia and a different ambiance.
What does the name Colchis mean?
It was the name of Georgia in 2000BC, from the legend of Jason and the Argonauts. It’s quite recognisable for Georgians and Russians. For locals it sounds quite mysterious. It’s quite pronounceable. Georgian words are not normally pronounceable!
What are the key dishes and ingredients?
It’s traditional Georgian food. Quite simple flavours. Things like bean soup, ghomi (similar to polenta), spinach with walnuts. We have ajap sandali, like a ragu with aubergine, pepper, tomatoes, potatoes. We have anchovies with fried ghomi and tkemali sauce.
Georgian food is a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern with an influence of India because it’s on the spice trade routes.
How about the drinks?
We have Georgian wine. Georgia is famous for its wine production. It’s the oldest wine growing country in the world. It’s the part of the world where viticulture began in 8000BC.
I have a winery in Georgia. I am a very small producer. I am passionate about including small producers that are not stocked in supermarkets.
Apart from Colchis where would you go for a taste of Georgian culture in London?
Georgian theatre and cinema come here. There’s a British-Georgian friendship society. Whoever is interested, they can always find something related to Georgia happening in London.
Do you know of more Georgian culture in London? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below.