Whilst staying in Tbilisi, our guide recommended Restaurant Adre for traditional Georgian food. At first glance it didn’t look promising until we realised there was a large rear courtyard. Here we found several noisy children running around, so we tried to put as much distance as possible between them and us.
As Georgians traditionally eat salad at the beginning of a meal, we ordered the house Salad Adre with Guda cheese – a sheep’s cheese made in northern Georgia and stored in special bags made from sheepskin. As well as cubed cheese, the large bowl had lots of leaves, dried apricots and prunes, grapes, yellow sliced pickles, topped with a liberal sprinkling of walnuts coated in warm honey. As the honey cooled and began to set, the walnuts became filling pullers. We also chose a kebab: beef mince shaped into a long sausage, rolled in lavash, a thin flatbread which was accompanied by a small jug of sauce.
There were two sections of white wine: wine made in the European style and more expensive Qvevri wine made in the traditional Georgian style in clay pots sunk into the ground. From the former we ordered a bottle of Tsinandali white, because earlier in our trip we’d visited the Tsinandali Estate. However, as it was unavailable, we opted for a cheaper wine. As Georgian’s usually serve white wine at room temperature, we asked for it to be served chilled which elicited a quizzical look. However, it was served cold, although there was no ice bucket. The wine was so good, we managed to ignore the kids running amok, dogs barking, and cats seeking scraps and ordered a second bottle which we were told was their house wine.
When the bill came, we were not only charged for our original choice of wine plus two bottles of water when we’d only had one. Perhaps they anticipated that we wouldn’t be able to add up after two bottles of wine! Eventually after a bit of huffing and puffing it was recalculated and came to 101 Lari or £31.95 (probably the price of a single bottle in London). Whilst it was not the most relaxing of evenings, the cost of the meal more than made up for everything.