Address: 20 Vazha Pshavela Avenue
Tel: (+995 32) 239 31 13
Cuisine: Georgian, European
Hours: Daily, from 10:00 to 00:00
Bank Cards: Accepted
Price: GEL 80-120 (Dinner for two including beer and gratuity)
Parking: Outside the restaurant
E-mail: Not available
URL: Not available
Having finally found some time to visit a beer restaurant, I was especially looking forward to enjoying a mug of cold beer on one of those hot summer days at the HB Royal Beer restaurant. The beer hit the spot, but just about everything else missed the mark.
The menu looked OK; it listed dishes varied enough to leave an impression of diversity. But – like any other dining place – many dishes listed on the menu were not available. Before ordering off the menu in a Georgian restaurant, patrons are advised to inquire first what is actually available. That step would have save time contemplating options and deciding what to order only to find out that all was a waste of time.
The beer we ordered outright. We started with HB original, the lightest sort of Hofbrau (GEL 3.60 for 330ml mug) to alleviate thirst. Meanwhile, we were served Tuna Salad (GEL 7.00) with fish, lettuce and dill. It was a good starter and suited the lightness of the unfiltered wheat beer. Then soups arrived – Atlantic Salmon Soup (GEL 12.00) and Ukrainian Borscht (GEL 5.00). What was billed as “Atlantic Salmon” Soup did not by any sense – taste or smell or look – seem anything like Atlantic salmon soup; it was just a soup of thawed salmon, though, rather well spiced. Ukrainian Borscht was more authentic with pork and sour cream. My friend liked it very much, even remarking that Georgians undervalue the advantage of beetroot which is the crown of Borscht. Ukrainian Borscht is very different from that red vegetable soup which people call borscht in Georgia.
Stewed Salmon in Tomato (GEL 20.00) was the real hero of the day. Perfectly spiced and well stewed too, the salmon tasted delicious even cold a half later when we picked over the remains.
Service left something to be desired. The waiters never bothered to change our plates throughout the different courses. They either had no idea that that should be done or were too busy (although only three or four tables were occupied during our stay there).
The dark lager Dunkel beer (also GEL 3.60 for 330ml mug) seemed a bit sour, and so we returned to the unfiltered wheat light beer again. The restaurant serves only wines of Telavi Marani winery, which we did not try.
We abstained from ordering Khinkali, but could not resist the temptation of trying Kebab (GEL 7.50). Though not bad, the Kebab was so spicy that it overpowered all that we had tasted before and affected everything we tried thereafter… But once again, beer came to the rescue, clearing our palate for the Boiled Pork Leg (GEL 22.00). The pork leg accompanied with large boiled potatoes sprinkled with dill was nonetheless disappointing.
Finally, we spotted flies at the table. Waving our hands once or twice to shoo them away, we waved for the bill and moved toward the exit of the beer restaurant.
This article first appeared in Tabula Georgian Issue # 107, published 2 July 2012.