It was not at all my personal quest to find the best cup of Kombucha in Tbilisi, I was just enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon, exploring off the beaten tracks, the little cobbled streets and hidden courtyards that Tbilisi is famous for, that I entered Namu Raw Café by chance.
Namu Raw Café is the first raw plant-based cuisine in Tbilisi, which opened in 2016, their food is mainly raw, prepared from organic ingredients and is completely free from meat, dairy, gluten, sugar and table salt. That was my first vegan snicker with a perfect cup of Kombucha tea experience, a drink I had never tasted before. I found out during my visit to the café, that Namu’s owner Ana Tikaradze graduated from a top culinary school in the US. She is determined to raise awareness about happiness-boosting interventions and the importance of healthy eating and often hosts a range of inventive workshops, such as the Cacao Ceremony and Space Detox.
Before moving to Tbilisi, I had the preconception that the Georgian staple diet consisted of a lot of meat dishes and mostly heavy carbs, but after living a few months here, and learning so much more about its complex culture and gastronomic heritage, on the contrary to what I expected, I now know that the City has lots off the beaten track, hidden, cool and quirky vegan and vegetarian cafes and its gastronomy is very much based on vegetable dishes.
Lying on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, along the Eastern shores of the Black Sea, surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains. The land is home to myths, legends, and a rich cultural identity, and is also known as the birthplace of wine (approximately 8,000 years ago). In a country where a large majority of the population is Orthodox Christians, it is common that people fast between 178 and 212 days per year and thus it is no surprise at all to find such an incredible selection of beautiful vegetable dishes, varying from stuffed vegetables, to boiled, fried and stewed vegetables pots and most dishes are packed with the flavour of fresh herbs such as coriander, marjoram and tarragon.
A couple of other cafes that I am planning to visit in my now newly found quest for a good cup of Kombucha, are Café Leila, the Cone Culture for a diary free ice cream, Kiwi vegan café and Mamma Terra.