Kinkally, a Georgian Gem

London, you voracious culinary collector, amassing a treasure trove of global flavours for decades. Italian? Affirmative. Japanese? Indeed. Mexican? Absolutely. Georgian? At long last, yes.

Charlotte Street now hosts the newly opened Georgian-inspired restaurant, Kinkally, along with its clandestine cocktail enclave, Bar Kinky. 

Born out of founder Diana Militski’s love for Georgian cuisine, cultivated through countless visits to the country, this is the epitome of a passion project. Central to her vision is the khinkali, a popular Georgian delicacy – a savoury dumpling traditionally stuffed with beef, pork, or lamb, infused with parsley – and known for its distinctive twisted shape. At Kinkally, Chef David Chelidze, renowned for his work at Hedonist, elevates the khinkali with delicious, beautifully creative renditions. To say I was excited to try this place is an understatement. 

Stepping inside the restaurant, I am greeted by towering windows and stony facades, echoing the Caucasus Mountains’ rugged charm, birthplace of the khinkali. The décor, an ode to Georgian heritage, whispers tales of folklore and history, while carefully chosen tableware highlights the careful attention to detail. With its white walls gently illuminated by pendant lights, Kinkally feels a million miles away from the outside world.

I descend the stairs to Bar Kinky for a pre-dinner cocktail. Bathed in a crimson glow, it exudes an air of sexiness, secrecy and – dare I say it – kinkiness. This subterranean oasis is where Andrew Pruts, known for his work at Insider, curates a fabulous cocktail menu. Wickedly charming bartenders use inventive techniques to serve the most gorgeous cocktails, from hazelnut and beurre noisette Margarita to my poison of choice: the Nomad, a Negroni-esque creation topped with micro coriander.

Upstairs we are seated by the counter, my forever favourite dining spot. Watching the chefs at work is an experience in itself; the eye for detail and meticulous presentation make this an almost immersive experience.

The khinkhali dumplings – plump, pleated pockets of heaven – are showstopping. I quickly learn how to eat these little savoury treasures: in one bite, leaving behind the sturdy knot. Fillings include Wagyu, peppercorn plum sauce and Georgian svanetian salt (frequently battled over by the kitchen and bar), Langoustines, tarragon and matsoni and an absolute showstopper of Pumpkin kveri, gorgonzola and amaretto.

Other small plates include Rabbit pate, nazuki (a Georgian bread with a twist I could eat every single day) and rhubarb, Gurian style beetroot, tkemali with wild mint and the sensational Baked aubergine, satsebeli with vanilla matsoni. 

There is a winning selection of wines, from an Argentinian Malbec to a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. We opt for the Georgian wine pairing – a white, orange and red. The white – Didimi, Krakhuna, Imereti, Georgia, 2021 – is crisp, dry and famously made by a taxi driver turned wine producer. 

Finally, there is dessert: Dry persimmon, salter caramel atop mascarpone and a lovely, lemony Matsoni cream. Both divine, both devoured. 

There is a legend that when God distributed land, early Georgians missed out because they were too busy eating, drinking and feasting and so they arrived too late to claim their share. After having experienced Georgian cuisine, I can safely say I’d be landless too.

43 Charlotte St., London W1T 1RS