Like the greedy magpie that it is, London has been collecting great exemplars of global cuisine for decades now.
And, at long last, it now has a really great Georgian restaurant.
You’ll find the place – playfully named Kinkally after a type of Georgian dumpling – on Charlotte Street where, from its doorstep, you can see Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, French, Turkish, Thai, Spanish, and Italian restaurants. And yes, that seems like a lot of competition. But when if you’re looking for something unique, then it’s really no competition at all.
The space itself is sleekly designed temple of minimalist zen, with white walls bathed in a subdued glow from sleek red pendant lights, and lined with tables that are all split subtly in two, so as to give each diner their own ‘half’.
The menu is the work of Chef David Chelidze, who made his name cooking modern Georgian cuisine in Moscow. Here, he’s building on a lot of the ideas he started there, taking the classic recipes and pushing them into new and interesting directions. And the pulpit from which he preaches his carby gospel is the khinkali dumpling. If you’ve never heard of them, they could very well be the poster child for comfort food. Imagine a plump, pleated parcel crafted from a supple dough wrapped around a filling, with a thick ‘knot’ at the top for you to hold, while you devour the bulb.
Here, while you can get the traditional fillings (lamb & sesame, for instance), the boat is being well and truly pushed out when it comes to the dumplings with mussels & limoncello, or langoustines and tarragon. Which, coming from a landlocked country, is anything but traditional. Then there are the smaller dishes, like the zippy Gurian-style beetroot with wild mint, or the smooth rabbit pate with quince. All told, there’s a lot of invention going on here, and lot of it is good.
Head downstairs, and you’ll find Bar Kinky, their subterranean cocktail bar. And this place is an absolute gem. The red glow of the lighting, and the intimate space makes it feel slightly illicit, in the best way. The bartenders use things like frozen grapes in place of ice (which you can eat after you finish the drink), and they measure by weight, balancing the glass on a scale as they pour so sparkling drinks don’t froth up and leave you shortchanged. On their menu, you’ll find the likes of the Negroni-esque Nomad (gin, vermouth, coriander & strawberry) and the Old Fashioned-styled Nature (bourbon, porcini mushrooms, honey), as well as any classic you care to challenge them with. The place is called Bar Kinky…
…and this is one kink you should get into.
NOTE: Kinkally is open now, Monday to Saturday. You can find out more, and make a booking at the website right here.
Kinkally | 43 Charlotte St., London W1T 1RS
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