Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Restaurant Review: Colchis

Here's a restaurant review originally written for Follow Londonist on Twitter to keep up with their daily posts on all things London.

This new Georgian restaurant close to Notting Hill may have its roots in the Paleolithic era and serve what many believe to be the world’s oldest cuisine, but it keeps up with the times rather well, considering.

A polished chrome bar offers contemporary cocktails made with local spirits such as Sipsmith gin alongside Georgian wines from some of the earth’s oldest and most precious vines.

If uneasy pronunciation can be seen as a sign of authenticity, then Colchis’ menu is painstakingly historic, with the likes of mtsvadi and khachapuri available to tantalise the taste buds as they twist the tongue. The former will be familiar to you as shashlik kebabs, and these are particularly tender, juicy and well seasoned ones, with a hit of smoky charcoal from the grill upgrading the eating experience. Khachapuri could better be described as cheese stuffed bread, and isn’t a million miles away from that late night Anglo-Indian classic of cheesy naan. What’s not to like about that?

It wouldn’t be Georgian food without some dumpling action, and there’s no shortage of variations available. Top scores for ingenuity goes to a dish which features gnocchi-like dumplings in a plethora of vegetable flavours including spinach, leek, beetroot and pumpkin; though pleasant enough, they can’t compete with the more macho carnivorous version. Large khinkali dumplings contain the essence of a beef casserole within their fragile skin, wobbling seductively on the fork and bursting in the mouth like a warm cherry tomato on steroids. Or something to that effect. Read: we like them.

We didn’t get offered dessert on our visit as we spent too long scoffing mains that it became quite late, but we’ll take that as a good excuse to return. Perhaps for a mountain load of those dumplings and a glass or two of vino. With 150 bottles on the list, there’s plenty of choice, though given the quality of what we tried and the quietly ongoing renaissance of Georgian wine, it’s a shame the selection isn’t a bit more patriotic. There’s Georgian choices which we’d recommend you plump for (as did our waiter), but why hide them amongst so many less exciting French and Italian offerings?

Ask them that question when you head there and maybe we can make an impact. 

Colchis is at 39 Chepstow Place, W2 4TS. Visit their website at 

>> originally published on Londonist

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