The FINANCIAL — If you walk down Abashidze Street in Tbilisi, you will undoubtedly notice a Buda statue looking out from new restaurant Thai’s window. Thai Café and Restaurant was opened two weeks ago. It is managed by the first Miss Tbilisi, Nino Daushvili, who is also known by her second name Nuka Katsitadze.
Nuka is quite popular in Tbilisi. She is often invited on to different TV shows. People close to her say she looks like Whitney Houston. She considers the similarity a compliment. Nuka says she lives quite an active life, especially now she has a new business to keep her busy.
The place that Nuka manages is full of magic aromas. The amber-coloured lighting, rich mahogany furniture, Buddha statues and immense murals, decorated wood panels, luxurious fabrics, wood and stone all come together to create an opulent and refined décor.
The restaurant already has its loyal customers, some even visiting Thai daily. It has become a popular place for Georgian celebrities too.
“My brother appreciates tasty food very much. He travelled to Thailand with his friends and then decided to open a Thai restaurant in Tbilisi. He asked me if I would become director of the restaurant and I agreed. I told him that I would do everything in my power in order to manage the restaurant and make it a success.”
“My friends visit us very often. They like our menu very much. The prices at our restaurant are not too high. We have not officially opened the restaurant yet and plan to hold an opening ceremony soon,” Katsitadze says.
Nuka is one of the stakeholders of model agency Natali. She is also involved in organizing Georgian Fashion week in Tbilisi.
“I like changes in life very much. I always try to change things from time to time. I was a brunette and now I am blonde, sometimes I have blue eyes when I use lenses. When at home I like to replace the furniture often. That’s how I live; I like to be active socially as well,” Katsitadze says.
“I like travelling very much but unfortunately I don’t manage to travel as often as I would like. I have to look after my children and family. As with most people I like to holiday very much and think that this is one of the best ways to relax. Summer is the best time for me to travel. I often holiday in Cannes at my friend’s house. I miss Cannes a lot and try to travel there as often as possible,” Katsitadze says.
Nuka studied in the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film University in the faculty of Arts.
“I was studying in the group of Rezo Mirtskhulava and Gizo Jordania in the faculty of Arts. 3 days before the beauty contest, Head of the University, Eteri Gugushvili asked me to visit her and she told me that she wanted me to represent the Theatre and Film University at a Beauty contest,” Katsitadze says.
“The Miss Tbilisi contest was quite a long time ago – in 1985. At that time there weren’t any beauty contests like there are today, for example Miss Georgia. The girls who took part in the Miss Tbilisi contest were representatives of different universities existing in Tbilisi. It was an honour to represent the Theatre and Film University of Georgia. We were putting on a little performance on stage and I was playing the queen of England. Because of that I was a bit late to get to the Miss Tbilisi contest, but when I arrived everyone noticed me.”
“I was often taking part in different performances back then. I don’t want to speak about myself too much, but at that time I had quite a good speech manner. I was often presenting different concerts, so I thought that this contest would be along the same lines, but then Eteri Gugushvili explained to me what Miss Tbilisi was about and told me that many girls from Tbilisi’s different universities would take part in it,” Katsitadze told The FINANCIAL.
As Katsitadze remembers she even didn’t know what to wear for the beauty contest as during that time it wasn’t possible to buy dresses in normal shops. So she bought material from one Tbilisi shop and asked her painter friend to help her design a dress to wear to the competition.
According to Nuka it was not very important whether she won or not. She was in a hurry to go to Tskneti and have fun with her friends where boys from the Architecture faculty had invited her. “I was more interested in going to Tskneti and having fun with my friends,” Katsitadze says.
“At the end of the contest all of the Misses from the different universities were standing together and when they named me the winner I couldn’t believe it. I was awarded a Laurel crown and many bouquets of flowers,” Katsitadze remembers.
“After one week I saw the contest on the television and realized for the first time what had happened. I saw crowds of people on Republic square watching the show,” Katsitadze says.
“I finished studying at university and acted successfully in the final play which was an exam. Gizo Jordania then invited me to play in the Mtsire Theatre with his group. Then I got married and as is usual when people get married, their career goes downhill,” Katsitadze say.
“I went to Moscow with my family for a long time, and had two children there. Because of this, and mostly when I had no one to help me look after the kids and was supposed to be working in the theatre all day long, I wasn’t able to continue my career,” Katsitadze said.
“Then I came back to Georgia with my kids, who continued their studies at Georgian schools. During that time I took part in a TV programme, but I was very nervous and wasn’t able to continue this job. I was too busy raising my children, a girl who is now 22 and a boy who is 19. My daughter has finished at the Institute of Medicine and is now in Moscow working there and living with her father. My son is now studying here at the Theatre Painting faculty,” Katsitadze says.
“I personally ask everyone who visits our restaurant whether they like our food or not. I always try to find out what our guests like and don’t like.”
“We have 2 Thai cooks at our Thai restaurant. They prepare fascinating dishes, mostly with prawns. We have a very wide choice of Thai food here and everyone should come try it at least once.”
“We have a lunch menu from Monday to Friday. For example for two persons it costs 24 GEL. That includes Soups – Sweet Corn Soup with Egg or Vegetable Soup, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Stir Fried Beef or Chicken with Vegetables, Thai Fried Rice with Egg or Plain Rice, a Soda / Soft Drink, Tea or Coffee. A lunch Menu for four persons for 48 GEL includes Sweet Corn Soup with Egg or Vegetable Soup, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Stir Fried Beef or Chicken with Vegetables, Stir Fried Sea Food with Vegetables, Thai Fried Rice with Egg or Plain Rice, Soda / Soft Drink, Tea or Coffee. A lunch menu for 6 persons costs 72 GEL.”
Nuka is a very nice women. She cares much about her employees,” the Thai cooks told us.
“If everything goes well, we will hopefully become bigger or add another branch to our restaurant. I want our restaurant to be like a little home for everyone,” Katsitadze told us before we left Thai.