Restaurant Review: Batoni Khinkali

I’ve sung the praises of the Asian ethnic cuisines available in Amsterdam on this blog in the past. Another unexpected, and quite pleasant, aspect of Amsterdam’s culinary scene is the opportunity to try foods from other parts of Europe that I’ve had no previous exposure to. Over the last week or two, one new food idea has been forcing it’s way into my imagination: Khinkali. I first heard about this dish at a Fusion dumpling pop up dinner hosted by the excellent Pinch. Khinkali are Georgian version of dumplings. Existing somewhere between pierogi and Chinese soup dumplings, khinkali possess the hearty doughy substance of the former and the half-soup half-meat filling of the latter.

After hearing about this dish for the first time, it was suddenly all over the place. A group I am a part of on Facebook posted that a new restaurant had just opened in Amsterdam specializing in Georgian food. This restaurant is Batoni Khinkali.

So I rolled over to Oost with my friend Zivile on Saturday night to try this place and this dish, khinkali. Lucky for me, they were also doing a one day special dish, Atcharuli Khachapuri. More on that later.

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We started with a selection of hors d’oeuvres. Here we have something like a pesto ball, a hummus ball, and a rolled grilled eggplant with sauce. If you know anything about me, you know I raved about the eggplant.
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This khinkali! We had three different types: mushroom, cheese, and meat. You grasp the dumpling by its purse handle and bite into a side like a soup dumpling. You suck out the juice and then eat the entire bottom. The cheese were our favorite, with the meat and mushroom after that.
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Atcharuli Khachapuri. This was the one day special at Batoni Khinkali and it was really something special. Basically a bread bowl filled with salty cheese, (like cottage cheese almost) butter, and a raw egg. You stick a fork in it, mix the insides together into a dip, and tear off parts of the bowl to dip in it. Rustic, delicious, and yes, somewhat yonic.
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Bonus! On our way out, the nice fellow working the counter suggested we try this dessert. What appeared to Zizi and I initially as fudge is actually boiled down gelatinous grape juice. It is mellowly sweet and has a texture somewhere between pudding and flan.

What I told my friend at the end of the meal was basically, “Wow, that really felt like home cooking.” and that is a HUGE compliment from me. This food was made with love, and I felt like I was eating in a Georgian couple’s living room rather than a restaurant. I promise you I’ll be back to Batoni Khinkali and I’d recommend anyone to check it out.

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