Sunday, June 3, 2012

Where to Write a Novel in Tbilisi: Moulin Electrique

As my quest to find the Perfect Novel-Writing Haunt in Tbilisi continues (Black Lion and my old favourite Near Opera are too far away, Cafe Literaturuli is too much of a chain, Konka just doesn't feel decadent enough, Caravan's closed down, everything in Meidan's too bloody expensive now), I may have identified another worthy contender.

Moulin Electrique, located in a slightly continental courtyard off Leselidze Street (follow the Hebrew sign on the left side of the street (ie, with Freedom Square at your back) to the lesser-known synagogue (not the one near Chardini St), manages to avoid the slightly disingenuous sheen so many "European" cafes in the increasingly gentrified Old Town have adopted, in which sleek minimalism and plastic shine replace authentically European cramp and acceptable sleaze. Its Toulouse-Lautrec posters are a bit new for Paris - but by Tbilisi standards, it's positively authentic, with a painfully hip (and, it seems from a cursory eavesdrop, largely Georgian) clientele too cool for Chardini. Like the rest of Leselidze Street, an unrenovated street with a mercantile history famous for its icon-stores and craftsmen, Moulin Electrique has managed to weather Old Town's transition into the occasionally plasticine picturesque: it's charming without ever appearing manicured.

The place is at its best in the summertime, when the continental courtyard is transformed into a semi-piazza, with outdoor tables and awnings. But for a varied coffee menu (chai lattes, elaborate cappuccinos), reasonably priced sandwiches, Moulin Electrique offers year-round casual comfort all too rare in this slick, pricey part of Old Tbilisi.

5 comments:

Saint Facetious said...

I've past that place quite a bit, but never went in. I'll have to change it.

My latest haunt is Montmartre in near Adjara in saburtalo. It's quite nice and not too expensive either.

Fleur Flaneur said...

Hm, I'm almost never in Saburtalo - is it worth the trip out there or better as a local? I was the same way re: Moulin Electrique for a year - so glad I finally gave it a try!

Lado Pochkhua said...

You should try new cafe in the backyard of "Literature Museum"- Chanturia Street 8...

Myrthe said...

I love Moulin Electrique, not only because it is two steps away from where I live. It is a great place to sit and write. The only problem I have with that place is that every single time I ordered food there the service was incredibly bad, for example having to wait an hour and a half for a simple sandwich and bringing my and my friend's dishes at least twenty minutes apart. The food is good, though, and I do like the place so I haven't given up on it just yet. I decided to only order food there if I have the time to wait for it. ;-)

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