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February 28th, 2012

TAMADA (St John’s Wood)

 TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

Borsh (5.50)

Category: Bistro (££)

yellow traffic5 150x150 TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

The visit to the small restaurant Tamada in St. John’s Wood was my first encounter with Georgian cuisine.  Georgian, my lunch companion who has visited Georgia on many occasions told me, is one of the most interesting cuisines of all the states formerly comprising the USSR.  It is rich in vegetables and influenced by  Mediterranean, Europe and The Middle East.

Some Russian friends recommended Tamada as  ”a cheap and wonderful little restaurant serving the best Georgian cuisine in London”.  I don’t have much comparison,  but sadly I felt the food was, even though nice, a long way from being excellent and we paid 35 pounds for 4 starters (also called “Georgian Tapas”), a small portion of bread and a bottle of sparkling water.  Not exactly cheap…

The Georgian House Salad (6.50) was the clear winner.  If all dishes had been on this level, I would be a daily visitor of Tamada.  Very simple, fresh and full of flavours, this salad consisted of only tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and red pepper which were dressed with the most amazing walnut based sauce.  Heavenly. (and I usually don’t even eat peppers!)

I’m a sucker for the famous Russian beetroot based soup borscht, and I was expecting creamy and rich bursts of earthy and comforting flavours, but at Tamada the Borsh (5.50) was disappointing.  Weak and boring it lacked all the characteristics I was hoping for.  I know that there are as many Borscht recipes as there are grandmothers, but still…

 TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

Georgian House salad 6.50Â

I was expecting great things from the Sacivi (7.50) – a very traditional Georgian dish with cold chicken served in a walnut – garlic sauce.  Tamada’s Sacivi was a rather tasteless affair and I had to spice it up with some salt, which is always a bad sign.  I liked the Lobio (6) better:  red beans cooked with coriander and garlic into a thick stew, very much resembling Indian dahl.  It was nice dunked up with the fresh Georgian bread Shoti Puri (3).

 TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

Sacivi 7.50

 TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

Lobio 6

 TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

Shoti Puri (3)

According to my Georgian-savvy lunch companion, good Georgian is far better than what Tamada has to offer and he strongly recommended to not give up on this cuisine just yet.   Any recommendation where I could find amazing Georgian outside of Tbilisi?  Please let me know!

  •  Food: 5.5/10
  • Service: 6/10
  • Ambiance: 7/10 (and the toilets were beautiful!)
  • Value for Money: 5/10
  • Chances of Returning: 5%
  • Verdict: some nice dishes but overall not worth the journey into the depth of St. John’s Wood.

biglink TAMADA (St Johns Wood)

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