If you want to enjoy a true Chinese dining experience while visiting the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi, five-star Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi’s new restaurant Ensemble is your new go-to.
Fried tofu with barbecue sauce, gongbao chicken, stewed beef meatball with cabbage and vermicelli, fried mussels with garlic on sizzling board, and other masterful blends of ingredients and spices from China are created by a crew of ten chefs all from China and brought to table with legendary Chinese dining etiquette.
General Manager of the Hotel, Peter Hoellrigl, talks about Ensemble and shares some of Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi’s future plans.
Q. Please introduce us to Ensemble restaurant.
A. Our Ensemble Chinese restaurant has been in operation since March and is going well. We still have many things we keep tweaking and improving. Sourcing all proper and “real” products for a wider variety will take more time. We are ramping up for the main season at the hotel, and in this period we will also hold an official opening ceremony, the exact date to be announced.
The restaurant decoration is simple Chinese, interesting are the paintings with the horses as they have a story to tell. Like all real Chinese restaurants, the main focus is on private dining rooms where we can host dinner parties of up to 24 people. Those events are in more private, luxurious settings, good for celebrations and for business meals. The service, food and environment at private rooms are even higher standard.
The most important feature of course is our team of chefs. We have a minimum crew of ten chefs, all of them from China. There is no place in Georgia even coming close to this. The chefs come as a team led by the master chef, specialized in their categories and with regional strong points.
As our restaurant is already extremely popular with Chinese natives living and working in Georgia, we also have a service team lead by a Chinese Restaurant Manager. Mr. Wang has worked for Chinese Restaurants and five-star hotels his entire career. What makes him extra successful is his past experience running a free-standing Chinese restaurant in Europe for many years.
With the wide variety of dishes from the menu and the option for custom set menus we can cater to every guest’s taste, occasion and spending power.
Q. Why did you decide to open a Chinese restaurant and not a European one, for example? Do you think it is popular among Georgians or visitors of the country? Or did you see there was a lack of quality Chinese restaurants in the country?
A. China has been in the news as future opportunities and upcoming market for several years, which is one reason to focus on. Our market research clearly showed that Asian food is trending and popular in Georgia, so we decided to specialize in Chinese cuisine, as we plan to be on the market for many years to come. Over time, when Georgians get used to sampling Asian food and their knowledge grows, they will choose specific cuisine and appreciate the taste of authenticity.
As China is such a huge country, and very diverse, we can provide food for every guest’s preference. China has healthy choices, comfort food, refined seafood, heavy meat dishes, and certainly everyone is aware of their spicy delicacies.
Since the hotel investments and BTL Hospitality Management come originally from China, we have the right connections and support. In the Hualing area there are many Asian people and Chinese based companies; they certainly are on our radar. We believe that if we can satisfy Chinese people at our restaurant, this will ensure Georgians that we are doing the right thing.
Q. I read several reviews on Tripadvisor and the restaurant got excellent ratings in most cases. Your guests said Ensemble restaurant was the place to go, calling it “a real Chinese restaurant”. What do you think, how has the restaurant achieved this recognition?
A. At our hotel, just like at our Ensemble Chinese Restaurant, we strive to deliver “Asian Hospitality” Friendliness, and special ceremonies, Asian gestures and poses are very common. This works very well for catering to guests, treating all guests like we treat honored friends visiting our home. Through specific training and commitment of our associates we ensure extra focus on guests’ satisfaction. Not just satisfying a guest, but making them regular, repeating guests.
We actively encourage our staff to request feedback, we are setting targets on satisfaction scores and also on quantity of feedback, all this as friendly, fun competition with monthly small celebrations of the team. In China, as we have experienced, the competition is so much tougher and many companies are providing restaurant reviews on the internet. We use what we learned there to keep creating and inventing ever-changing unique customer experiences.
After all, pleasing and hosting guests is a personal trait and attitude, not something that can be trained or forced – for that, allocating the right people to the right venue is key to success.
Q. What do you have planned for the Hotel?
A. In the past year we have planned and executed upgrades and renovations everywhere. All of our 246 rooms have had new features installed, furniture replaced, even electrical and mechanical things the guests don’t see, for example air quality has been updated. We plan to keep increasing our creativity and the quantity of special events and promotions.
The newest item is our family room. These rooms are biggest and feature bedsheets, pillows, and blankets with cartoon characters as well as toys, colorful kids towels, bathrobes for a family-friendly low price.
Because our hotel is big and therefore not downtown, we all have to work a little harder and better. Since last year we have been looking and working on our unique segment, a niche where we can play with less competitors. As we have our Chinese connection, some tasteful Chinese character decorations and of course our Ensemble restaurant we have been working with Asian markets. Now since China has overcome the pandemic this is paying off. We continue to extend our strength for sports groups and extend and increase our already strong SPA facilities and packages. With our current guests’ origination point, we are a perfect mix of East and West, as this beautiful country has been here for thousands of years.
Q. Let’s talk about Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi as a place for different kinds of meetings. What types of meetings can be held at the hotel?
A. Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi offers perfect spaces for holding conventions, seminars, workshops, incentives, exhibitions, fashion shows, corporate parties, concerts. The hotel has six conference rooms, all with daylight. The size of the meeting rooms varies from 120m2 to 220m2 and can host up to 250. Not to mention our 800m2 ballroom, which is perfect for sporting events and exhibitions.
Also, if you are planning to celebrate your dream wedding party in a luxury ambiance, then our ballroom is the perfect place.
Our food and beverage department will guarantee delicious coffee breaks, mouthwatering desserts, and a variegated menu for lunch and dinner.