A month ago, in the "Golitsyn Loft" on the Fontanka, the khinkal Kazbegi started working. The institution turned out to be, if not the most elegant in the cluster, then precisely the most fashionable. According to the owners, on the first day of work, there were so many people who wanted to try local khinkali that some dodgers managed to sell their place in the queue to those who came later. By the way, queues in Kazbegi are still not uncommon: there are almost no empty seats in the evenings, while the cafe has a rule according to which a table can only be booked for a company of eight people. Life around went to the khinkal and tells how it is arranged.
Kazbegi was invented by Moscow project manager Maria Palamarchuk and PR manager Olga Voldaykina, who managed to work with many popular Petersburg institutions. So success, especially in the early days, is explained by the professional ability of the organizers to gather the right audience around them. But this is not only the case: by chance or almost by chance, the duo managed to realize an idea that seems to have been in the air for a long time - to pack Georgian cuisine in the format of a gastrobar. Separate attempts to do something similar have been made before: for example, in the Lion and Bird restaurant, visitors are offered Georgian interpretations of European and American dishes, and Ginza, though not particularly successfully, tried to turn khinkali and khachapuri into fast food.
The organizers of Kazbegi took a different path, preserving, at least at the level of sensations, everything that the average visitor expects from a Georgian restaurant: the food here is the most familiar, and the interior is unpretentious. The institution is located in the premises of a former garage, with spectacular arched vaults and brickwork, which during the repair process was partially freed from the remains of plaster, and partially plastered again and pasted over with elegant wallpaper. There is a real wine cellar, vintage furniture, which Olga Voldaykina, who independently supervised the interior, partially found on Avito (this was the case with a bulky chest of drawers and a crystal chandelier), and partially brought from the house, such as a collection of antique iron coasters. The artist Mikhail Buntin took an active part in the design of the cafe - he painted the entrance gate, and also made portraits of prominent Georgian figures, who decorated the second hall.
The compact menu was originally developed by the team together, but the project chef, Levan Chkhartishvili, has been monitoring the quality of the dishes since the opening. The main thing worth going here for is khinkali. They are cooked in five types: in addition to traditional meat (45-50 rubles), eat with vegetables, and also with suluguni cheese and potatoes (40 rubles). Khinkali is made exclusively to order. Actually, most of the complaints in the first weeks of the project were connected with them - often the order had to wait more than an hour. Now the problem has been partially solved by increasing the staff of modelers to three people, so now the maximum waiting time for a serving does not exceed 45 minutes.
Khachapuri will be served more quickly, the choice of which is also significant: the usual Ajarian, Megrelian and Imereti interpretations (350 rubles) are adjacent to the less obvious ones - like khachapuri with lobio (300 rubles) or spinach (300 rubles). The menu also has a selection of cold snacks - in particular, satsivi (300 rubles), phali (250 rubles) and eggplant rolls with nut filling, - soups and several win-win hot dishes - three options of ojahuri - with pork, mushrooms or lamb (270 -400 rubles), chakhokhbili (300 rubles), lobio (250 rubles) and fried loin, served in a hot ketsi clay frying pan.
Strongly ahead, Voldaikina and Palamarchuk are trying not to look so far - first you need to deal with the problems that arose at the first stage: to bring to mind the kitchen, strengthen the bar list (so far there are only eight wine positions and strong alcohol) and finally decide on the format. Visitors help with this - they try to listen to them: at the request of the guests they began to put less pepper and salt, soon they will introduce additional meat dishes, and all New Year holidays will cook hash.
We serve all the khinkali from under the knife. Because of this, the first time there were overlays, guests had to wait a long time. Opening, we underestimated the volume of orders and tried to cope with lesser forces. At the moment, we have accelerated the process, now three people are cooking khinkali.
In the first month of work, there was a lot of controversy surrounding food. It turned out that most of our guests were accustomed to neutral tastes, and we went out with rather spicy dishes, where there is a lot of salt and pepper. As a result, we made concessions, changed the recipe a little, but just a little bit.
Now we evaluate the first results of work, compare the popularity of dishes: we plan to remove something from the menu and replace it with something new. For example, we realized that guests want more meat. So soon there will be additional meat positions. For the New Year holidays, we will serve hash - a rich meat soup, which takes 12 hours to cook. This is probably the most popular hangover soup in Georgia. Chkmeruli - chicken in creamy garlic sauce will also appear; there will be kubdari - khachapuri with meat; perhaps a chicken of tobacco, and certainly Georgian desserts.
co-founder of Kazbegi
Adjarian Khachapuri - 350 rubles Khinkali with lamb and black pepper - 50 rubles / piece Ojahuri with lamb - 400 rubles Phali - 250 rubles