Nino Kiltava, in Nunuka, with a plate of khachapuri in his hands.

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Nino Kiltava recovers his grandmother’s recipes in this newly opened place. Khachapuri and khinkali are some of the dishes they prepare.

Nino Kiltava, in Nunuka, with a plate of khachapuri in his hands.JAVIER BARBANCHO

Every time Nino Kiltava held a dinner at her home in the capital, the guests left surprised and delighted with the menus that this Georgian prepared for them. “I always made dishes from my country“, she says proudly. The surprise effect was guaranteed because no one had tried – or probably heard of – khachapuri or khinkali, two of the best-known dishes of this Caucasian republic located on the Black Sea coast, on the border between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

“In Spain very little is known about Georgia (capital Tbilisi, to locate us) and I think we have many things in common: we like to go out, we are family members, we highly value time with friends…”. From so much good criticism that he received, he launched to investigate the market and saw that there was a gap to set up something. “There were no restaurants of this cuisine. I had no idea of ​​setting up a business, but I began to look at places without further ado,” he says, half in Spanish, half in English. What he had left over was desire. “I have always been very cooky“.

For a few weeks now, he has been combining his work at the Georgian Embassy, ​​where he is in charge of promoting the culture of his country, with nunukaa cute bistr located in Chueca that pays homage to his mother and, above all, to his paternal grandmother. “That’s what we called my grandmother at home.” I spent a lot of quality time with her as a child. “She was an amazing hostess. We never knew how many people were coming over for dinner but she always had everything planned.”

And it was with her that I learned to cook and appreciate homemade food made with care. Now he prepares those recipes in his new ‘home’ on Libertad Street. “I want people to feel comfortable here from the moment they walk through the doorthat there is always a welcoming atmosphere”, he explains next to the window of the premises. “My grandmother passed away when I was 14 years old but I still have her very present”.

He left Georgia in 2003 and has since lived in Germany – the last eight years in Berlin – Italy, Austria and Switzerland. “My husband is a military attache at the embassy, ​​which is why we have traveled so much in this time.” She speaks English, Russian, German, “a little Italian” and Spanish. “I would like to improve my level”, she affirms with conviction.

The 'hit' of Georgian cuisine, the khachapuri.
The ‘hit’ of Georgian cuisine, the khachapuri.

Nunuka’s letter, however, has wanted it to be in Georgian. “I know they are difficult words to pronounce and learn, but it seemed like a way to keep the essence.” The room and kitchen team is made up of compatriots; in front of the kitchen is David Narimanashvili.

At the table, much to discover. The khachapuri, the undisputed star dish, is presented as a flatbread baked at the moment stuffed with cheese and egg yolk. It is mixed and caught by hand. He overshadows him in the ‘hits’ category khinkalia dough filled with minced meat and broth, which they recommend taking by hand -and carefully so that the sauce does not drip on your clothes-.

Colorful dishes come out of the kitchen -such as aubergines stuffed with walnut paste and spices in a light almond sauce, called badrijani nigvzitr-, based on vegetables, meat and bread, basic essential in the diet of this country. On the grill they prepare mtsvadi, skewers of Iberian pork, and their qababi, a beef kebab with spicy Georgian sauce, coffee sauce and fresh leaves.

Khinkali, dough filled with meat with broth.
Khinkali, dough filled with meat with broth.

The liquid part also holds pleasant surprises. “In my country we make wonderful wines. We have a wide variety of grapes and very interesting references”. The next step is to create a kind of grocery corner where diners will be able to purchase Georgian produce.

Everything in Nunuka moves to Georgia. On the walls, they have framed pages of books that Nino read with his grandmother, and many of the objects have great sentimental value. “I wanted to replicate her house a bit.” The interior design of the premises bears the signature of the Las 2 Mercedes studio. Farewell is sweet. The honey cake that she made for friends with Nunuka’s recipe closes the first visit, which she knows more about, see you soon.

Source: www.elmundo.es

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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