This Georgian restaurant in St Johns Wood was opened in December 2019 by Anna and Zaza Pulariani. She cooks and he runs the front of house. Georgia’s location on the Silk Road led to its cuisine having widespread influences, in particular from the Middle East as well as eastern Europe. The national dish is khachapuri, leavened bread filled with melted sulgani cheese, sometimes with an egg cracked open on top of the bread.
Georgian wines have a great history. Traces of wine making in Georgia date back 8,000 years, making it the oldest wine-making region in the world. It has local grapes including the white grape Rkatsiteli and the red grape Saperavi. The wine list (which incidentally bore no relationship to the list on their website) featured 25 Georgian wines, priced from £27.90 to £150, though the on-line list does not generally specify producers or vintages. We ended up trying the top wine, Marani Reserve 2007 from Kondoli vineyards in the Kakheti region, made from the Saperavi grape. This bottle, a gold medal winner at the 2019 International Wine Challenge in London, was priced at £150 compared to its retail price of £50.
A simple Georgian salad featured walnuts, an ingredient that features in a lot of Georgian dishes. This was basic, with some cucumbers, tomatoes to go with the walnuts, and was perfectly pleasant (11/20). Sulguni (brined Georgian cheese) parcels filled with Nadugi soft cheese had some mint flavour, the soft cheese having quite a mild flavour (11/20). Aubergine was pan-fried and served cold with walnuts, garlic and a little spice, which for me could have done with more spice (11/20). Cooked beetroot was also dressed with walnuts, garlic and spices, and for me worked a bit better, as beetroot has quite a lot of distinctive flavour of its own (12/20). A final cold starter of minced spinach and ground walnuts in the shape of a doughnut with pomegranate seeds was quite enjoyable, the spinach flavour coming through quite well (12/20). My favourite of the starters was imeruli khachapuri, a flatbread with lilted cheese in the centre. I guess this could be considered a kind of Georgian take on pizza, and the texture of the bread was good, the cheese melted evenly (13/20).
We tried three main courses. Lobio was a stew of red kidney beans, served with pickled cucumbers and mchadi, a cornbread that is a traditional accompaniment to this dish. The bean stew was very pleasant, cooked with onions and walnuts as well as some mixed herbs and spices, and what may have been pomegranate juice. This was tasty and was partnered quite well with the cornbread and the pickled cucumbers which seemed to have a touch of chilli about them (13/20). Shkmeruli was a pan-fried poussin cut into large pieces and served with a creamy garlic sauce. This was served with shoti puri, a canoe-shaped white bread cooked in a clay oven. This was pleasant enough though for me the chicken was a touch overcooked, and the sauce seemed just a little bland (11/20). I preferred chakhokhbili, boneless chicken cooked in a tomato sauce that was flavoured with basil, coriander, garlic and chilli. This was almost reminiscent of an Indian dish, with the chicken pieces here being tender and nicely enlivened by the gentle kick of chilli (12/20). This came with the same shoti puri bread.
For dessert, walnut shaped cookies were filled with caramel cream and were quite pleasant (11/20), as was a slab of honey cake with caramel cream, the cake avoiding dryness and being served with vanilla ice cream (12/20). The service was friendly and the bill came to £99 per person including 12% service, but that was with us sharing the priciest wine on the list. If you shared a bottle of wine from the middle of the list then you could end up with a bill of perhaps £65 or so. Geamos seemed to me a very welcoming neighbourhood restaurant serving simple but enjoyable Georgian dishes. I do not profess any expertise in this cuisine, but our friend who we dined with has spent time in Georgia and he thought the food here compared well to most of the food he had eaten in restaurants in that country. It is not a destination restaurant, but it is an interesting and very pleasant local place.