Kakhelebi on Beliashvili - Kakhetian Flavours To Tantalize Your Palate

The trajectory in the business life of a restaurant is not always an easy one, but somehow Kakhelebi has found a formula that was popular from the very beginning. What started as a restaurant near the airport, was the highway restaurant dining which ended up always being full, then developed years later into another but larger concept eat out in suburban Tbilisi, bringing the most humble, rustic and classic Georgian flavours to your table. mylifestylenews writes.

The current incarnation of Kakhelebi on Beliashvili has only been opened for four years but already has turned into a great success story. From tech savvy business to a totally different industry by running a reputable restaurant in order to host his business guests and VIP’s for the initial intention, the first Kakhelebi establishment was opened near the airport in 1997 (it is still operating successfully) and overwhelmed by its endearing and luscious traditional Georgian cuisine and due to word of mouth needed a larger location. Kakhelebi on Beliashvili was then established with the suburban location chosen because of the opportunity for bigger catering on many levels in order to cater for more appetence diners.

Tbilisi is well spread out - big, but not that big. Finding your way to Kakhelebi on Beliashvili can somehow be challenging if taxi is not your preferred mode of transport. Being an adventurous tourist intact, in fact, an easy metro ride on the blue line by getting off at the bustling Didube station, snaking through the chaotic market and bus terminal and with a good 20-30 minute flat walk crossing the Mtkvari river by staying on Beliashivili street, a big complex onto your right visibly seen and there you are. Otherwise, it is probably best accessed via a taxi for the less intrepid.

The signage is not bold unless you do read Georgian but as it turns out, the whole building is Kakhelebi, four parts are encompassed in the building from the basement to the third floor, it is divided into kitchens, main restaurant with ample dining space well spread out and segregated into various sections on the entire floor as well as a few private dining rooms and a bakery café on the ground level with separate door entrance.

At the entrance porte cochère, look up at the bricks ceiling inlaid with ceramic tiles with grapes motifs that expresses the famous Kakheti wine growing region in Georgia. The moment you open the door you notice that the décor is not plain or easy to instantly judge. The enormous space overall is quite surprising, after walking up a flight of stairs we finally arrived where our reservation was and you immediately realize that you are in a special place.

Passing through the arch hallway leads you to one section of the expansive main dining hall. The interior has been designed with some elements of an old castle reminiscence: church stained glass windows, candles for lighting, polished sandstone style brickwork and iconography with visual images and symbols interpretation especially the portrait of the King Erekle II aka Hercalius II (A Georgian monach of the Bagrationi dynasty, reigning as the king of Kakheti from 1744 to 1762) guarding the entire main dining hall.

Then, you begin to notice other touches that digress, multi-faceted artworks to create an eclectic atmosphere and it turns out that the blue ceiling with old Georgian writings and flora motifs around the walls reference Georgian poets from over one century ago.

With all forms of design elements (as well as the menu) are mainly from the Kakheti regions, the witty and open minded owner Chichiko Goletiani has a magnanimous passion and heartfelt attachment of his homegrown Kakheti region. Even the design of the tablemats as well as the menu layout references the cycle of life. Apparently when you are drunk you can possibly read the poetry on the ceiling. Mr. Goletiani’s cheeky sense of humour reflects entirely over his wining establishment.

Dimmed lighting mood bridles the entire cozy ambience adorned with a mix of age-old style café chairs well fitted with large wooden tables together with a few big sofas space out the dining area in different sections juxtaposed against all the stone walls and tiled floors. The large open kitchen takes centre stage at one end, so delicious smells emanate from this end of the restaurant. Mr. Goletiani’s concept of Kakhelebi on Beliashvili is to be a tavern and bakery, so it exudes a rustic charm and touts itself as a neighbourhood family restaurant and we were very taken with it the moment we sat down. 

The ethos is to treat guests like family. Also, when you look very closely, you drill down on details, so look for the god of fertility statue which was quite prevalent prior to Christianity in Kakheti. This stature exhibits characteristics of the hunter, wine and strength. Kakhetians are full of humour.

Provenance of the food and wine is also very important to Mr. Goletiani, so they have their own vineyards and orchards which supply the business with every freshest produce they need and some key ingredients play a part in the menu. They are very clear in their objective – High quality meat, experience and skillful chef, finest seasonal ingredients and the use of ancestral recipes, for which you sometimes cannot find such tastes anywhere else!  It is clear that Mr. Goletiani expresses it quite well by coming out with this winning formula.

If you begin to “study” the expansive menu, there are quite a few signature dishes that are a must-try, but beyond that we relied on the recommendations of the front of house to get things going and, of course, to organize some wine that would suit the food, as in Georgia, wine is just as important as the food! And so our Kakhetian food and wine experience took us on a wonderful journey at the hands of a well-seasoned restaurant team.

<Salad with Blueberry Sauce>
This is one of the signature dishes created in Kakhelebi that had won many acclamations from diners over decades. On arrival at the table, the mountain high salad looks sumptuous. The blueberry dressing creates an instant appeal and while you think it looks like it might be overpowering, it was perfectly judged and who would have thought this fruit would make the perfect accompaniment of a salad? It was sensational and the blueberries elevated the dish beyond words!

<Cold Boiled Hen>
This is a classic Georgian (Kakhetian) dish that is no nonsense. Although it is served cold, but well paired by the accompanied walnut paste sauce and the entire bird chopped up into its respective pieces and well placed on a big platter plate. You may think the flesh from a hen can be tough and sturdy as an old turkey, but when it falls into
the good hands of an experience chef, the world can be turned upside down. The big hen is meaty, easily pulled off by a gentle bite with some parts remains a little tight, but it has lots of flavour and was thoroughly enjoyable. Evidently, this sharing dish requires a big appetite to knock out this sumptuous giant beast.

<Veal Barbecue Cutlet>
We thought this was going to be a chop, but in actual fact it is a boneless minced meat in the style of a mini burger size form perfectly coal grilled. Four pieces of tender, meaty and juicy cutlets neatly presented on a wooden plate and garnished with parsley and accompanied by a long spring onion to be enjoyed with every bite of the well seasoned premium meat. A must order dish!

Soup dishes generally are quite popular in Georgian cuisine and this clear beef soup with spices and herbs is to no exception. The name itself already sounds exotic and every spoon full of the clear broth is full of aromatic flavour. Simple yet delicious and incredibly memorable!

<Grilled & Baked Pork Ribs>
This is served with the perfect 50/50 balance – half fat and half lean meat to ensure that the meat flavours are rich and juicy. The succulent meat was first grilled to a light crust on the surface and then baked to perfection, garnished with a bed of onion rings. With the melting fat effect in the mouth well balanced with the juicy lean meat, it is the best way to enjoy a genuinely premium pork ribs dish. Finger licking good!

<Buffalo Cutlet>
With the veal barbecue cutlet that was so deliciously unforgettable, we encored by ordering another cutlet dish with buffalo meat, fabulously paired with a citrusy sour plum sauce that counterbalances the richness of the meat. Once again, the use of a coal grill and the juicy meat well marinated offer you the flavour to die for!

<Fried Trout>
Two medium size trouts are well laid on an oval plate, the trouts were beautifully pan-fried to a smoky flavour and remain juicy inside, accompanied by a homemade pomegranate sauce which is a revelation – simple and full of flavour.

As mentioned, wine plays an important part in the history of Georgia and more interestingly in the history of Mr. Goletiani’s family in Kakheti. The family owned winery goes back some 50 years with the third generation already carrying on the tradition. We were delighted with both the reds and whites – so much so that we wanted to take some with us as a memory for months to come. We were very taken with their Mukuzani – a dry red wine made from the Saperavi grapes grown in Kakheti region, Vachnadziani. It is only a 2018 vintage, but already has a complexity and distinctive palate that paired beautifully with our meals, especially the meat dishes. The wine is distinguished by cherry and dark chocolate aroma. High acidity, characterized by dark ruby colour and perfectly balanced tannin. Such a triumphant exclusive wine production simply not to be missed!

Much to our delight, we wanted to sample more signature dishes but we had run out of room to indulge further. It was quite prescient that the reliable comfort food is not fussy and oriented to the freshest and best quality with great honesty. Genuinely Kakhetian!

We were grateful to have the opportunity to meet up with Mr. Goletiani himself and his graceful wife Salome over a chat right after our dinner with a single shot of their very own homemade ChaCha and Churchkhela as dessert. Both Mr. & Mrs. Goletiani’s  passion for enjoying life through food and wine was undeniable with full dedication to this heartfelt restaurant  and everyday is a joy for them to entertain.
The attentive front of house team service is rather warm and welcoming, straight to the point, quick and precise. We couldn’t have expected a more memorable evening, nor the surprises in store. The heart and soul of the harvest lives in the produce, so we ensured that a little slice of that left with us in the form of the wine and we are still thinking about the wonderful hospitality we were privileged to enjoy.

This is not fine dining, but the simplicity of the food is elevated by a passionate team to the point that the experience leaves you thinking you have had the best of everything! Of all the traditional Georgian restaurants, Kakhelebi has become one of the most beloved by locals. Fastidiously curated to delight your palate, this is a perfect pit stop while you are in Tbilisi. Totally a stand out!

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value For Money: 5/5
Experience: 5/5
41, Beliashvili Street,
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: +995 32 2184 222

 Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

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