We’ve been in Georgia for the International Wine Tourism Conference 2014 and every meal we’ve sat down to has been a feast.
Restaurant Kopala is no different, serving a succession of traditional dishes from East and West Georgia. Every time we think that the meal has come to a end the starched white-clad waiters bring something new. Of course there is Khachapuri, one of the forty different varieties of cheese pie – the one we eat is the most popular recipe from West Georgia, a bit like a fluffy, salty, cheese pizza. Pomegranates and herbs unite every dish – from little rounds of chopped, fresh herbs bound with a walnut paste, to the pomegranate sauce bathing the fresh, grilled trout, to the ground walnut sauce with a hint of red chilli pepper which adds a marigold-hued layer to some meltingly sweet, soft aubergine. Even the chips (fries), which come with pork kebabs cooked over charcoal, are crisp, sweet and moreish.
Amber wines are poured generously, cherry-hued luscious reds perfect partners with the grilled meats. But there is an added magical, secret ingredient; the view from the terrace overloooking the whole, twinkling gleaming city of Tbilisi.
The river Mtkvari reflects the glowing, organic curves of the Peace bridge, the castellations of the Narikala fortress and the orange glow from the illuminated Sioni cathedral. A violinist serenades us all evening; all our senses are satiated as we meander back to our hotel through the cobbled streets.