Tucked away in the heart of Jerusalem in Rehov Hahavatzelet is Racha, a unique restaurant serving authentic Georgian cuisine, in a building that dates back to the time of the British Mandate in Israel.
The true ethnicity of the restaurant is apparent in the whole dining experience, with a traditional decor and warm Georgian hospitality.
Warm bread and a salad of cabbage with fresh herbs arrive as a welcome appetizer, followed swiftly by three salads we chose to share as a starter. The aubergine stacks with pomegranate kernels and crushed nuts was perfectly balanced in taste and textures and really quite delicious.
For my main course, I chose 'Tolma', stuffed cabbage leaves with a filling of beef and lamb mince, rice and fresh herbs, cooked in a rich, spiced tomato sauce, which took me back to my childhood and my mother's ' holishkes'. They too were as delicious as I remember and served with a side salad was a hearty main course.
Other mains included a very large duck breast, served perfectly pick in a rich deep red wine sauce, traditional Georgian meatballs in a spiced tomato sauce and half a pullet (a very young hen) roasted with herbs. All the main courses were served with rice and a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion slices and flat leaf parsley, with a very slight acidic dressing, which worked perfectly.
Dessert was an experience in itself, blinis served with nuts and a warm bitter chocolate and traditional black tea, served with cookies filled with raisins and nuts, but being a savoury biscuit dough, it lacked sweetness so didn't pair well with the tea.
The crockery and cutlery were beautiful and commensurate with the style of the restaurant, even the teapot was vintage china with a pretty floral pattern. It amused me, pouring black Israeli tea from a china teapot, but this was a great find with good food, pleasant service, a friendly atmosphere and good value for money in the heart of Jerusalem.