Vera is small district located below Vake and Saburtalo and kind of looks like a triangle of three large avenues: Kostava Avenue, Rustaveli Avenue and Zandukeli Avenue where the Rustaveli metro station makes the central point. There are lots of hip restaurants, chic bars, luxury and boutique design hotels, lush parks as well as entertainment and activities in this charming neighbourhood and Keto and Kote is strategically located in part of this scene.
Open for five years in a beautifully restored house over 100 years old, Keto and Kote is named after the century old popular classic comic Georgian opera premiered in Tbilisi in 1919. Finding your way to this Georgian old classic Tbilisi style house may well be another treasure hunt. Good detective work is needed to be done especially when you get off at the Rustaveli metro station, walk up the slope on Mikheil Zandukeli street (with a big McDonald on the beginning of south side of Mikheil Zandukeli street as a landmark), down an alleyway side street in a genuine and typical Tbilisi residential, just when you think you have reached to a dead end, the captivating new found paradise Keto and Kote appeals.
Before you actually arrive at the grand vestibule inside, at this point you are blown away by the fabulousness of this grand old house. Passing through the askew pathways in the endearing garden with outdoor terrace seating and a veranda with carved wooden balconies, both command beautiful views of Vera. If you come before sunset and early fall, their outdoor setting is simply winning.
The original “maison” design itself harks back to the country’s Golden Age and purposefully re-designed in a modern cutting edge that truly leverages architecture and old-fashioned elegance. As you enter, the arrival “room” is so spacious, where a big table takes centre stage decorated with tasteful flower arrangements and fresh cakes and tarts tantalizingly spread out – homemade of course, adorned with a old style giant chandelier, elegantly hung above the ceiling across those horizontal hand painted colored beams with a design motif that represents some old style wood carving. Two large paintings of art work brighten up the entire room hung on the light sky blue walls with marbled top console on each side well decorated with gold brass table lamps and a footed fruit bowl adding a sensible touch to this old-world Tbilisi chic at its finest. A couple of pot plants also juxtaposed the red day bed sofa adding a further contemporary cozy ambience and you are enveloped by the stunning interiors immediately.
While you are not prepared for how large the restaurant is, passing through the two arches separated by a mini cellar wine rack takes you into the spacious main dining room which was fully booked even on a school night. Be prepared for another WOW factor by its enchanting interior that continues pleasing your emotions with joy. The dramatic realms of elegance: glass chandeliers, candelabra chandeliers, cut crystal round lightshades, striking hand painted ceiling beams and beautiful scattered objet d’art. The vivid colours of the entire dining room harmonized by its neat table setting readily served for the evening diners on the hardwood floors with doorways decorated with velvety red curtains tidily tied up exits to the roof covered veranda (where we finally were seated in a very relaxed setting) is another intimate nook of haven to admire.
You will simply fall in love with the beguiling mixture of orient- meet-west, old-meet-new modern contemporary design approach. It is quite clear the owner has quite an artistic taste and you may get jealous at what a lovely house has been created and transformed in this aesthetic measure and keeping the old Tbilisi charming exterior. Simply mesmerizing!
Given the expansive layout of this dining establishment, they have three kitchens: pastry is off the main dining room, the main kitchen is off the entrance vestibule and a BBQ kitchen is outside on the other end of the house. Keto and Kote serves modern reinvention of Georgian cuisine with creative techniques combined with newer methods of preparation with finest produce sourced from various local producers to pay homage to the best quality brought to your table to also reduce the carbon footprint. After perusing the menu and realizing that the number of dishes was not that extensive and less than expected, we were surprised for the need of so many kitchens, but then again, maybe they do a lot of private event parties as well. We assumed you know what they do, they do well!
Keto and Kote’s version of Khinkali comes with pesto and a dash of parmesan on the top and we found it was rather disappointing - not only was it a take on any Italian ravioli in pesto sauce - and missing the essence and the way by enjoying a rather rustic Khinkali itself from its juicy and soupy filling. Overall, it didn’t have those quintessential Khinkali flavours that we have come to enjoy and the sauce was too cloying and dominating. For argument sake, the reinvention of this creation from the culinary team was rather indolent.
Another Georgian national dish with the zest of citrus combined with the juices, onion, dry white wine, paprika, cinnamon and brown sugar for a unique rustic full-flavoured marinade and then grilled to perfection with a crispy skin to savour. The chicken comes with a Georgian plum sauce and the meat was tender, juicy mostly (although the wings were too tough), but we were somehow expecting a more ‘wow’ element and the plum sauce is a jarring element which supposingly the chicken shall excel from its rich combination marinade. If a simple grilled chicken is what you are looking for, then this ticks the box!
Design & Decor: 5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4/5