For those who seek a cozy environment and exceptionally delicious dishes, SOMINEE Restaurant, located in a heart of the city, comes highly recommended. Notably, the restaurant is at the luxury hotel MONOGRAPH FREEDOM SQUARE.
Housed in a historical building, MONOGRAPH is centrally located on Liberty (Freedom) Square, which has retained its pristine look and some of Tbilisi’s most unique historical sites. Replete with classical and modern architectural patterns, the area epitomizes a merger between the city’s past and present, hence it’s being a starting point of adventure for visitors to Georgia.
Inside MONOGRAPH, a cozy and welcoming environment is in full command to host guests. The highly professional staff of the restaurant SOMINEE is always ready to offer an unforgettable experience to visitors.
To find out more details regarding this luxury restaurant, its chefs, and cuisine, GEORGIA TODAY spoke to F&B Director Beka Khmaladze and Executive Chef Tiago Duarte.
Tell us about the restaurant Sominee and its distinguishing characteristics.
Beka Khmaladze: Sominee is a modern, fine dining restaurant enhanced by unique design elements of art that is an integral part of the interior. The concept highlights exquisite details of service as well as luxury tableware and furniture which creates an incredible journey every visit.
What kind of cuisine do you serve?
Sominee restaurant serves modern Georgian dishes inspired by authentic culinary recipes taken from every part of Georgia, creating a link between the past and the present. The menu contains some signature individual main courses, a grill menu, and desserts.
The menu flavor profile varies from sweet, salt, and sour enhanced by Georgian herbs and spices.
Tell us about the ingredients used. Are they of local production and fresh on a daily basis? Do you get them from local suppliers and farmers?
All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced on a daily basis from farmers, which gives a distinctive taste and identity to every single dish, and come from various parts of Georgia. Salmon is farmed in the Uraveli Valley, in the southern part of Georgia. The crystal clear and cold river gives the fish its fresh and unique flavor. Apokhti is made exclusively for Sominee restaurant by Monks from Ude monastery, while our selection of dry-aged meat and first-ever made Georgian Jamon is brought from the Racha region.
What about drinks? What kind of distinctive beverages can your visitors taste?
The journey can be started with our mouthwatering bespoke cocktails which have an individual story in their making that can be enjoyed shaken or straight up in a glass.
Sominee offers a selection of authentic Georgian Qvevri wines as well as world-famous wines from all over the world, particularly France. Consequently, the most expensive and rarest bottles like Chateau Margaux, Petrus, Vosne Romanee, Chateau D’Yquem, and many others can be found. Besides wine, Sominee has an exclusive collection of Cognacs and Armagnacs which can be enjoyed after a pleasant meal.
What was the main inspiration when creating the menu of Sominee Restaurant?
Sominee restaurant is named after Meskhetian authentic bread from the southern part of Georgia, therefore, before the menu was developed, creators traveled to Samtskhe Javakheti to learn the recipes, cooking technics, and ingredients from that part of the region.
However, the menu is quite broad and contains some other forgotten and unforgotten Georgian authentic dishes which describe the food culture of the country at its best.
On the menu, you will meet some unique forgotten dishes like Ashvirkhua and Akuta Chaba, which originates from the region of Abkhazia and commemorates that part of Georgia in various senses; or some other unforgotten classic, but modernized, Imeretian dishes like assorted pkhali, kuchmachi, and khachapuri.
Which dish would you emphasize from the menu, and why?
Chicken Shkmeruli is one of the most distinctive dishes that feature on the menu, with rich flavors and a signature presentation.
Roasted poulet with smoked leek is served with black garlic and coffee bean infused with lactonase Shkmeruli sauce.
In your opinion, what attracts visitors most to visit Sominee restaurant?
The combination of eye-catching sights, contemporary artistic elements, a modern Georgian dining experience, and tailored service creates an unforgettable journey that will stay in your heart for a long time.
Who is your Chef?
Monograph’s Food and Beverage outlets are executed by Portuguese Chef Tiago Duarte. His experience covers Classic French, Modern European, British, Italian, and Asian cuisines. He was involved in the management and execution of the Lisbon Champion’s League catering events. He was serving top football players, celebrities, and more than 50,000 attendees in a stadium. His experience also covers leading Hotel Food & Beverage outlets in Amsterdam, Michelin Star Restaurant in Kent, and Fine Dining Restaurants in Lisbon and London.
Tiago’s breathtaking background in international cuisine and great passion for exploring and learning have paved his way to Tbilisi. The team of the hotel is extremely excited and proud to have an Executive Chef like Tiago, who will be leading Fine Dining Restaurant Sominee, Rooftop Terrace, and Japanese concept Nomura.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to Georgian Cuisine? Have you had any experience before with it? How would you describe the get-to-know process with it?
Tiago Duarte: The biggest challenge when it comes to Georgian Cuisine is probably tradition. Tradition is a big thing and I should respect it. Being a chef, who is not Georgian, with very little knowledge of the food, is already challenging itself.
This is my fourth time in Georgia, and one time I was asked to cook Georgian Fusion. That was easy. But after I arrived at Monograph, my job became more interesting and challenging. Probably the biggest challenge was trying not to hurt people’s feelings and keep the tradition of serving the meals.
The main thing that made me come to Georgia is the passion Georgians have for food. As a Chef, I’ve worked in so many cuisines, but there is something new here, in Georgia – a special dependence on tradition, culture, and food. Everything is so natural, tasty. The pride that people have here for their cuisine – it’s just amazing. That’s why I think that being a Chef at Monograph is a huge responsibility, bigger than I thought.
The main challenge for me is to keep the tradition but to change the perspective at the same time.
Share with us your thoughts and views of Monograph’s outlets, including the menus, signature meals, etc.
Tiago Duarte: The architecture and space of Monograph speak for themselves. It is an astonishing place. Sominee is going to be a traditional Georgian fine dining restaurant. We don’t plan crazy changes and innovations, there is no need for it. It should keep its simplicity and elegance.
Nomura is going to be our experiment, a Japanese fusion restaurant with innovative dishes presented in the menu. Not only Japanese dishes, but also a full range of Asian cuisine will be presented in the lounge. People will be constantly discovering something new.
The terrace is going to be my baby. It is going to be a very relaxed, unique space, sharing the concept to share the experience. We are going to serve international cuisine, Georgian fusion, mainly a sharing concept. Showing international flavors to Monograph’s guests.