Category: Bistro (Â£Â£)
The visit to the small restaurantÂ Tamada in St. John’s Wood was my first encounter with Georgian cuisine. Â Georgian, my lunch companion who has visitedÂ GeorgiaÂ on many occasions told me, is one of the most interesting cuisines of all the states formerly comprising the USSR. Â It is rich in vegetables and influenced by Â Mediterranean, Europe and The Middle East.
Some Russian friends recommended Tamada as Â ”a cheap and wonderful little restaurant serving the bestÂ GeorgianÂ cuisine in London”. Â I don’t have much comparison, Â 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. Â Not exactly cheap…
TheÂ Georgian House Salad (6.50) was the clear winner. Â If all dishes had been on this level, I would be a daily visitor of Tamada. Â 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. Â 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. Â Weak and boring it lacked all the characteristics I was hoping for. Â I know that there are as many Borscht recipes as there are grandmothers, but still…
I was expecting great things from the Sacivi (7.50) – a very traditional Georgian dish with cold chicken served in a walnut – garlic sauce. Â Tamada’s Sacivi was a rather tasteless affair and I had to spice it up with some salt, which is always a bad sign. Â I liked the Lobio (6) better: Â red beans cooked with coriander and garlic into a thick stew, very much resembling Indian dahl. Â It was nice dunked up with the fresh Georgian breadÂ Shoti Puri (3).
According to my Georgian-savvy lunch companion, good Georgian is farÂ better than what Tamada has to offer and he strongly recommended to not give up on this cuisine just yet. Â Any recommendation where I could find amazing Georgian outside of Tbilisi? Â Please let me know!
- Â 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:Â some nice dishes but overall not worth the journey into the depth of St. John’s Wood.