It is not often that I have the time to venture all the way to East London but every time I make it there, this area always manages to surprise and intrigue me. It is absolutely amazing how fast this part of the city, especially Shoreditch and Hackney, has grown into an energetic, experimental creative bubble that reminds me very much of New York’s Brooklyn.
Back in 2005, Broadway Market in Hackney was once my neighbourhood. Other than Columbia Flower Market on Sunday and a small Broadway Food Market on Saturday morning, this part of London was rather lifeless and run down, even though the street of Broadway Market itself was a kaleidoscope of taste and culture. Only five minutes’ walk from my modest apartment, I could find one of the best home cooked style world cuisines in town, ranging from the traditional English jellied eels to Argentinian Steak. My most favourite of all though, was undoubtedly the Little Georgia Café where I was first introduced to the world of home cooked Georgian Cuisine such as Borscht Soup and Pelmeni or Russian style dumplings.
I still remember the first day this café opened 10 years ago by three Eastern European women cooking in a tiny make shift kitchen with only three or four tables on the ground floor of a closed down furniture shop. I came down from my apartment opposite the café about to head to Broadway Market for a weekend brunch with my boyfriend when we noticed a new pop-up restaurant with no sign. We were intrigued and asked the women with headscarves what kind of food they were serving… that was the first time I heard of Georgian cuisine, and the country of Georgia for that matter! Since then, Little Georgia Café has always been my go-to place for honest homely Georgian comfort food because as far as I am concerned, this little cafe still serves the best Borscht in London.
Now in 2016, Little Georgia Café has grown into a busy, yet cosy two storey café with seats on the pavement. The menu has also expanded significantly from a few Georgian specialties to include All Day Breakfast and selections of Sandwiches. My friend and I decided to try out a combination of new dishes and my personal favourites. We ordered ‘The Georgian Breakfast’ which included Chizi Bizhi – Scrambled eggs with garlic, herbs and tomatoes, served with Snazzy Beans – Georgian beans mixed with carrot and beetroot salad; bacon and homemade Georgian sausages as well as 2 slices of toasts! It was basically a healthier and tastier version of a full English Breakfast. Highly recommended, but be warn that it is very filling. You may not be able to try anything thing else on the menu if you decide to have this dish on your own.
We also ordered Borscht, my all-time favourite dish at this café, which was still as good as I remembered; and a plate of Khinkali – a giant dumpling filled with hot soup and minced meat, very similar to Chinese Xiao Long Bao, served with sour cream – which were also very good. However, it was important to eat Khinkali while they were still hot though, otherwise the dough became hard when cooled.
If you feel like having a relaxing brunch in Hackney area, I highly recommend Little Georgia Café, for delicious home cooked food and cosy atmosphere. The majority of its clientele is the young, gorgeous creative types and the café is also dog friendly. During my latest visit to this lovely café, I made friend with a very cute Chiba Inu on the table opposite too!
Little Georgia Café can be found at 87 Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QR