Georgian cuisine at Pepela in NYC, New York

I was recently invited to Pepela, a restaurant located in Murray Hill that serves cuisine from Georgia. I am not talking about the state, but the country in Eastern Europe. There are quite few Georgian restaurants in the City, but they are mainly in Brooklyn and Pepela, that opened just a year ago, is the first Georgian restaurant in the Manhattan.

As you can see on the photo above, the restaurant is in a townhouse. But do not expect to end up in somebody's home when you enter: it is a modern and upscale place that features some art from various artists. There are two floors: on the first floor is the lounge and downstairs is the dining room. 

As there was a birthday party in the dining room, we preferred eating in the lounge, meaning a different experience than a dinner per se.

As we were in the lounge, we could not not start without a cocktail...So I tried the Chacha Pom, made with Georgian vodka (Chacha), pomegranate juice, orange liquor and lemon juice.

It was good, but clearly not a fruit cocktail as they were generous with the Chacha...

Then, came the appetizers:

On the left was the sweet peppers with walnut paste and  carrots:

In the middle was the beets with walnut and Georgian Spices:

And on the right, the eggplant rolls where the eggplant was stuffed with a walnut paste full of spices.

The last one was my favorite, the smokiness of the eggplant adding a nice dimension to the dish. It came with some traditional homemade Georgian bread that reminded me the bread my Mom used to bake when I was a kid.

Then, came a "cheese pizza" made with sulguni cheese from Georgia:

If you like cheese, this dish is for you!

Yes, there was tons of cheese and it was gooey, nicely broiled on top to create some thin crisp areas.

The last dish was Chakhokhbili chicken:

It was pieces of chicken smothered by a sauce made with tomato, onions, cilantro, parsley, dill, spices, served with rice. The sauce was very good: thick, earthy with a bold flavor. However, the chicken was a bit on the dry side for me.

As I mentioned earlier, this was more a lounge experience than a formal dinner one, but it was an interesting discovery of Georgian cuisine!

Enjoy !
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Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!