65 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP

Monday 18:00 – 22:00
Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 22:00
Sunday 12:00 – 21:00

Phone: 020 8299 4989

Webpage: Kartuliinfo@kartuli.co.uk

This is a Georgian (that is Georgia as in the Caucasus) restaurant in East Dulwich and we liked the decor which was comfortable, light (no switching on your torch to read the menu although the font is relatively small) and the interior is a little more formal than our usual haunts. Linen napkins are such a luxury. The place is buzzing on a Friday night and we were lucky to get a space – other walk-ins were not so lucky so do book. The staff were welcoming and we were well looked after.

The menu is divided into starters, bakery, mains, sides and desserts. Go hungry.

We first chose from the starters and the bakery – Badrijani (Aubergine Walnut Rolls) which were soft and enticing with some delicious spicing and a sweet treat of pomegranate (feel like I am eating it all over again). Then there was Chakhokhbili, a traditional Tbilisian dish made from chicken simmered in a tomato sauce. Then we also chose Imeruli Khachapuri (Western Georgian dish of soft dough with a mixed cheese filling). The menu did say it was for sharing, but it needs more than a couple of people, so we took some home. It was as delicious when reheated as it was on the day. So take it from us one and a half starters would have been enough or just the bread.

For mains there are lots of different meat options – pork, chicken, poussin, beef, lamb but don’t fret there are also interesting vegetarian and vegan options which are a variant of the Georgian specialties. Our choices are illustrated in the pictures below, going clockwise from the top.

First, there is Rachuli Lobio, which translates as slow-cooked pinto beans with gammon pieces cooked with onions, garlic, fresh herbs and Georgian spices. It’s served with fermented vegetables. Then there’s Kaurma, a mushroom dish, seasoned with Georgian spices, that originates from the southeastern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti where it is made with liver. However, Kartuli created a vegan version made with four different types of mushroom. Lastly, there’s Ajapsandali, with aubergines, green beans, red and yellow peppers, fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions and garlic, seasoned with Georgian spices.

Finally, although being full plus a bag of takeaways, we decided to share a dessert. We chose the Honey cake which was a large slab (no other word for it) of a many layered honey cake filled with caramel cream and drizzled with dark chocolate. It definitely needed not two but four people to eat their way through this immense pudding and perhaps because of its triple sweetness it should be eaten with tea or coffee.

We also ordered an aperitif – Coffee Vodka and Lime Soda – and had glasses of Georgian red wine and sparkling water with the main course.

Our overall view was a good night out with a menu of very interesting dishes – so many that we will need to return especially to try the enormous dumplings – probably for five people! We also want to try one of their cocktails like the Tarragon Vodka. We ordered a lot of food and did take some back home but visit as a crowd or take a teenager or three to hoover up the remains. The bill came to a large sum (£103 including £20.30 for drinks) as each item was expensive. That should have been a clue to the size and calorific value of each dish, but on the other hand we got two meals out of it.

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