Review: Caucasus Georgian Restaurant, Siem Reap

I love Georgian food. I have never actually been to Georgia, but I have multiple Georgian cookbooks and I’ve eaten Georgian cuisine at highly regarded restaurants in New York, London, and Ukraine. (I’ve heard that the Georgian food in Ukraine is better than in Georgia, though I have no idea if that’s true.) So imagine my surprise when I found the best Georgian food I’ve ever had in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Katchapuri, a delicious cheesy Georgian bread (the country not the state!)

The word supra in Georgian literally means tablecloth, but it has come to signify a Georgian feast with a table laden with traditional dishes. This is exactly what we got at Caucasus, a restaurant on Siem Reap’s Bamboo Street run by a Georgian family. The menu features all of the traditional favorites, including khachapuri, a boat-shaped bread filled with melted cheese and, sometimes, egg, and khinkali, meat-stuffed dumplings.

The restaurant has a pretty outdoor courtyard for dining (when the weather allows), with tables adorned with tablecloths featuring traditional Georgian designs. There’s also a covered dining area as well, decorated with Georgian traditional crafts and cooking utensils, as well as blackboards with notes such as “Tbilisi loves you” and instructions on how to say hello, goodbye, and thank you in Georgian. In sum, it’s got an appealing vibe, which is sometimes lacking in Siem Reap restaurants.

Siem Reap’s Caucasus Georgian Restaurant, with tips on how to speak Georgian.

I assembled a group of good eaters and we went to town on the menu, putting together our own supra. We started with torn eggplant with coriander and pomegranate and eggplant nigvziani, delicious eggplant rolls stuffed with walnuts. Walnuts are one of the defining ingredients of Georgian cuisine and you’ll find them in all types of dishes, such as satsivi, a dish of cold chicken with a creamy sauce of walnuts and spices.

We then moved on to our bread course, trying two types of khachapuri, one a round yeasted bread topped with cheese and spring onions, the other the classic acharuli, filled with melted cheese and topped with an egg popped on top before it is baked. It’s eaten by mixing the egg, which is still runny, with the melted cheese and then tearing off bits of the crust and dunking them in the resulting deliciously cheesy lava.

Kharcho, Georgian beef stew thickened with walnuts.

Despite sharing a border with Russia, Georgia boasts a totally unique cuisine that takes advantage of spices much more than do their neighbors to the north. Ajika is a spicy condiment that is either red or green, made of hot peppers, garlic, and spices. Georgia also has its own special spice combination, khmeli suneli, a ten-spice mixture featuring coriander, dill, dried basil, mint, marigold and blue fenugreek. This spice mixture is a defining ingredient in kharcho, a beef stew thickened with ground walnuts. It’s my favorite dish, and the Caucasus Georgian Restaurant version which didn’t disappoint.

We also tried the shkmeruli, roasted chicken in a clay pot with a cheesy garlic sauce, which was fantastic. I should note that the menu is actually not so cheese-heavy; I just happened to be with a particularly gluttonous group of diners who were trying to imbibe as many calories as possible. Which is also why, after this supra, we also had two desserts: a sort of apple fritter served with grapes and ice cream and pelamushi, a Georgian pudding made with red grape juice.

Why not finish your meal at Caucasus with a delicious Georgian dessert?

After this long and rapturous description of our meal, do I need to say that I highly recommend Caucasus Georgian Restaurant in Siem Reap? I loved it, and I am sure anyone who wants to try authentic Georgian cuisine in a lovely atmosphere will love it, too.

Caucasus Georgian Restaurant
Bamboo Street, Siem Reap
T: +855 (0)78 776 471

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