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Georgian Restaurant

Almaty – Day 6 – In Town

Unfortunately the bad weather up in the mountains drove us back into town. That said, the exposure to fresh air (down in Almaty the air is quite polluted and one can feel the smog quite drastically), cold rain and, uh, fresh air had made us rather hungry. While it was not quite evening it still felt a good idea to go back to the lovely Georgian Restaurant Daredjani we had visited before. And a success it was again. Khachapuri, spinach with walnuts, veal shashlik (extremely tasty marinated veal) and chingale.

Chingale (ital. cinghiale), filled pasta in the foreground, khachapuri, Georgian pizza behind
Chingale (ital. cinghiale), filled pasta in the foreground, khachapuri, Georgian pizza behind

The picture above shows a glass with a green lemonade: the coriander lemonade was a distinct highlight. Probably not to everybody’s liking, but very tasty and definitely lemonade with, well, coriander flavour. A wonderful meal in a really nice restaurant. The meal was accompanied by a glass of Chateau Mukhrani Shavkapito, a Georgian red white out of an endemic grape – a perfect match. Hmmmm.

After all that food it was time to explore the city. The Daredjani restaurant is right adjacent to the Panfilov Park, a pleasant park which houses one of Almaty’s most interesting sites, the Cathedral of the Holy Ascension. Apart from the fact that it is an interesting building with a very ornamental inside the level of devotion shown by predominantly older ladies (who put on a headscarf when they entered the church), but also some younger people (who lit candles for reasons that had nothing to do with luminal darkness) was mind boggling. Probably not if you are a devoted Christian yourself, but if you tend to look at religion and its impact on society with some scepticism then it is a rather strange experience. Talking about strange experiences: not to far away from the church is a War Memorial, which seems to be a meeting place for weddings on weekends. Let’s start with the weddings:


Wedding couple at the War Memorial in Panfilov Park, Almaty
Wedding couple at the War Memorial in Panfilov Park, Almaty

Now, let’s look at the main part of the memorial a little bit closer – just to make it clear: I personally think that war is one of the most horrible ideas that mankind produced. I also understand, that the soldiers fighting in these wars don’t necessarily find the idea of fighting in a war appealing at all. And I thank Henri Dunant for kickstarting the Geneva Convention to reduce suffering for injured soldiers and the civil population (I don’t thank the US of A for violating the very spirit of that convention with their wonderful prison at Guantanamo). Nevertheless, what has to be said, has to be said.

The incredible hulk, wearing a steel helmet, and a soviet version of Mount Rushmore.
The incredible hulk, wearing a steel helmet, and a soviet version of Mount Rushmore.

Folks, wars are terrible. And any display that gets people to understand just how bad they are is good. But depicting a helmet-clad version of the Incredible Hulk with Soviet Union shaped wings with faces growing out of them misses the point. Obviously, I  got it all wrong and this memorial is supposed to remind people of the heroes of war and invite them to think about the next battle. “Russia is huge but there is nowhere to retreat since Moscow is behind us.” as inscription is a bit of a giveaway. Now, I don’t think that the population of modern day Kazakhstan needs this kind of message any more.

Almaty – Day 1 Lunch

Pooh – the trouble with these business trips is that they are – business trips. So instead of exploring Almaty I have been working. With a very nice local team, by the way: committed, enthiusastic and driven. But I don’t want to dwell in work, I had enough of that today. However, in between workshops we went to a Georgian restaurant:

20140408-001309.jpgWe had variations of Khachapuri, a Georgian type of pizza with and without meat, some great tasty salads, richly flavoured spinach, accompanied by homemade woodruff lemonade. Delicious. The restaurant is called Daredjani at Kunaev Str# 85, corner Kazibek-bi. We got there around 3.30pm local time, so right in between lunch and dinner. Thus, it was fairly, but not entirely quiet. One of our hosts was a Georgian guy and selected the dishes for us – he made some excellent choices:  the food was very tasty – a visit at dinner time seems a must, thus we’ll have a chance to sample the Georgian wine as well (last time I was in Moscow in a Georgian restaurant it turned out that due to the trade embargo at the time they couldn’t import wine from Georgia, so we had to make do with Greek wine!).

The owners seem to have a few places: a Russian restaurant near by and some more – to be checked out!


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