You may remember Althaus Tea from another post but I feel it deserves another mention after we discovered larger tea rooms on a street off Rustaveli. The link here is all in Georgian, but you can find their online shop here if you fancy some lecker German tea.
Tbilisi’s tea culture is lacking, despite being so close to Turkey and with some interesting Soviet approaches in its recent history. I’m British and I don’t drink coffee so yes, as stereotypical as it is, I do need good tea in my life about 4 times per day.
Yesterday we fancied a walk, despite the crisp air and long work day. We went from Marjanishvili to Rustaveli as usual and didn’t bother crossing, so we stayed on the side with less shops but with the impressive opera house and gallery. By the way, this particular gallery is setting up for Tbilisi Fashion Week – I’ve never been but a friend of mine did the makeup for it last time. Maybe it’d be worth visiting if the next one happens when you’re in the area!
Peckish and eager to warm up, we took a left near MOMA and discovered another Althaus place just a few meters down. I’ve never noticed it before so I assume it’s fairly new but don’t quote me on that.
When we arrived at about 7 it was quite empty. That’s a problem in Tbilisi and means it’s bound to be crap but we were lured-in by the quirky green decor, plants and warmth radiating through the old building.
The first section reminded me of a greenhouse, complete with a tea bar. We went straight through and took a seat near the front with a great view of the decor. I love when places are clever with merging history with cosy, interesting features. Subtle hints towards Georgia’s village lifestyle, enough to make Shota nostalgic anyway.
Even the bathroom was decorated nicely – a sure-fire way to win me over!
We were hungry so decided to order some main dishes before trying the tea. If somewhere specialises in something then you can usually guarantee the other options will be lacking. Cautiously, I ordered a Siciliana pasta dish and Shota went for Cannelloni. I was impressed anyway because the menu was quite big, with a variety of dishes (veggie ones too!).
The food was okay, as expected. Not the best pasta I’ve ever had but definitely not the worst. The olives and capers leant a bite to an otherwise dull dish but the pasta was perfectly al dente – very surprising for Tbilisi as everyone overcooks pasta here. Shota enjoyed his too so no complaints. They were quite safe options.
Then the usual routine of sharing a pot of tea with some dessert. They had a fair variety to choose from but we went for a brownie with icecream just because it’s guaranteed to be the most dense and comforting on a chilly autumn night. The brownie was delicious, gooey and perfectly thick against the melted icecream. By far one of the best I’ve had here.
There’s so much tea to choose from it even had it’s own menu. In the end I decided on ‘Sencha Senpai‘ which was a slightly-spicy Japanese green tea. I was intrigued by the spicier options with cinnamon and ginger but that will be a treat for another time.
The tea was great and came in an adorable teapot with a Chinese dragon design. We chatted and observed the people who had filled-out the room. Everyone was quite dressed-up, smiling, chatting, enjoying. Nothing rowdy, nothing too loud, and the music suited perfectly. I think they even put Nina Simone on at one point.
The staff were lovely, really smiley and eager to humour my poor Georgian skills. Prices were very competitive (especially considering the location) and the environment was lovely. If you’re around Rustaveli, pop-in for a cuppa! I’d give it a 9/10.