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REVIEW: Little Georgia, Hackney

While you might’ve sampled Turkish baklava or Russian borscht, it’s only in the last few years that endearingly rustic, homely Georgian eateries have joined the London food scene.

Typical Georgian fare champions simple, nourishing dishes – think stew, meat kebabs, baked aubergine, dumplings and luxurious breads that draw on Middle Eastern and European influences.

Khinkali (beautifully twisted knobs of dough, usually stuffed with meat and spices) and Borscht (beetroot soup, with apple and fennel) can’t be beaten if you’re craving warming, hearty food, and filling bean dishes will satisfy the most ardent meat lovers.

Little Georgia’s succinct menu comprises all this and more, offering Islington and Hackney a taste of proper home cooking from the motherland. Dish after dish shoots out from the tiny kitchen at the Hackney branch we visited, where you can bring your own booze and cosy up among vintage bric-a-brac, drinking horns and artfully mismatched furniture by candlelight.

We began with a Meze plate (£17), a selection of six delicious vegetarian salads mopped up with moreish fried cheese bread Khachapuri. Next came Ajabsandali (£11.50) a piping hot dish of aubergines, red pepper and tomato stew seasoned with Georgian herbs then topped with melted mozzarella. Finally, Kotnis Lobio (£12), a traditional Georgian bean dish cooked with heady spices, served with pickled vegetables and fresh homemade bread.

Elsewhere on the menu there’s baked salmon and trout, marinaded poussin and Katmis Gvidzli, pan-fried chicken liver with onions and pomegranate reduction. Not to be missed is side dish (though really a condiment) Ajika, a fiery red sauce made with hot peppers, garlic, herbs and spices, then thickened with walnuts.

If you don’t remember to bring your own bottle, there’s a small selection of dry wines, Russian vodka and Sarajishvili (40% Georgian brandy) to help propel you out into the night (or the bus home, if you gorge on a second round of Khachapuri, like we did). If you’re craving comfort food with a twist, or looking for a date idea that’s a little bit different, we can’t recommend Little Georgia enough.

ADDRESS: 87 Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QR / 020 77398154 / cafe@littlegeorgia.co.uk

WEBSITE: Littlegeorgia.co.ukSign-Up To FashionBite’s Weekly News

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