Czech Republic

La Nouzi, Czech Republic

We were drawn to La Nouzi based on the recommendation that they specialize in game, we first tried walking in during dinnertime and were quickly chased out by a less than happy old man, with the words “no reservation, no dinner” ringing in our ears. Refusing to give up, we returned a day later during lunchtime and spotted empty tables, surely he couldn’t refuse us now. We were quickly seated inside and served by the same man, looking a lot less menacing but still as grumpy.

Goose soup

The soup carried the game-y flavour of the goose well, hearty, well seasoned. Good

 

 

Roast pork knee, potato dumplings, cabbage

This was one of the leaner pork knees that we had, the meat was nice and soft, but the dumplings and pickled cabbage fell flat. Okay

 

 

Fried Roquefort

When we set out to Prague, finding fried cheese was one of my sister’s top priorities, she had seen it on Bourdain’s No Reservations show and had to have it. We eventually tried one at a street store, in the form of a burger, but the cheese used was edam, which didn’t have a very strong taste at all, although it melted very nicely. This version uses fried blue cheese, and was overall a better experience compared to the Edam. It had a nice sharpness and acidity, but lacked it lacked the unctuousness of a melted cheese. Okay

 

 

Trout of our grandma style. Potatoes, butter, lemon garnish

I believe this was a freshwater fish, but did not carry any muddy or murky smell that freshwater fish are sometimes associated with. It was crisp on the outside after being fried, but unfortunately the meat was a little too dry. Okay

 

 

Carp with fried garlic

Again, the fish here was overfried, but because it was much cut into thin slices, there was little to protect the meat from drying out even more. The garlic was also not cooked through and carried an unpleasant pungency that didn’t sit well on the tongue. Bad

 

 

Beef with camembert and blueberries

This was one of the more interesting dishes we had in Cesky, I found the combination of the beef, cheese, and blueberries to be quite interesting and pleasant, the melted camembert didn’t overpower the beef, but unfortunately, the blueberry compote did. There is definitely something about this dish that is worth working on.

 

 

Fruit cake: poached pear slices on cake

I was not expecting much because this was called “Fruit cake” on the menu, but it was more of a pear crumble, the crumble base was very moist, and the poached pear was not overcooked, which gave it a nice bite. Good

 

 

Blueberry dumpling:

My dad decided to order this despite violent objections from my sisters, our overall experience with dumplings was not a good one, but this was one of the more palatable ones. The dumpling was of course, very dough-y and heavy, but the blueberry compote(probably the same one used for the beef dish) carried a strong enough flavour to match up to it and keep it moist while eating. Okay

 

 

For all the anticipation building up to having a meal at La Nouzi, I think we were disappointed with the food overall. Papa’s Living Restaurant was a much better experience, both food and service wise.

Czech Republic

Papas Living Restaurant, Czech Republic

We now head over to Cesky Krumlov, a quaint, scenic, (touristy) little town about 4 hours away from Prague. We were recommended this restaurant by out trip planner, and to our surprise it was a restaurant that served Italian food. Having avoided Italian food throughout our time in Prague, despite pizzas being the seemingly most common food on the street, we approached the restaurant with a touch of incredulity and suspicion. Apologies for the white balance of the photos, the lighting in the restaurant was very dim, clearly electricity is a precious resource in the town.

 

Champignon mushrooms filled w spinach, served on garlic baguette, gratinated w goats cheese

A fresh, nice, light starter. Main complaint is that the ratio of mushrooms to bread was a little off(too much bread) but the flavors came together nicely. Okay

Pork ribs marinated w spices, pork ribs marinated w garlic w BBQ and cheese sauce

The cheese sauce was not as strong as I thought it would be, it fact it was almost like a tasteless mayonnaise. Pork was falling off the bone but I found the meat a little dry (In case anyone is wondering, Im referring to juiciness vs tenderness), it also lacked enough meat on the bone to make it satisfying. Bad

 

 

Homemade spaghetti w sumo sauce w Parma ham and rucola

Homemade spaghetti w pancetta, mascarpone and olive oil

Homemade spaghetti w cream spinach, champigonons, garlic and olive oil

Homemade tagliatelle w mushroom cream, onions, parmesan cheese

Im a little too lazy to sort out the pastas, but in truth they were all very good, the sauces were well balanced with the exception of the  one with sumo sauce, which was too salty. Be warned that it is quite a substantial amount of pasta, but at least the pasta is delicious and cooked al dente. The homemade pastas, which were rougher in texture than dried pasta, held onto the sauce nicely as well. Good

 

 

Tiramisu w ice cream

One of the better Tiramisu’s Ive had. The ice cream layers were not too thick, which meant that you could still discern the different layers of cake. It lacked a little alcohol but it tasted very nice. Good

 

 

Panna Cotta with berry compote

This is supposed to be one of their better dishes, but I preferred the tiramisu over this. The panna cotta was soft and carried the taste of milk well, but the compote was a little too tart to be eaten together with the panna cotta. Okay

 

We were pleasantly surprised with the food at Papas. The pastas are pretty substantial and taste great. One of the owners of the restaurant(his face was on the menu) was walking around making sure everyone was enjoying the food, a sign of a restaurant that prides itself in the food that it puts out. Papas was one of the highlights of our trip to Cesky and is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area

Czech Republic

Restauant Brasserie Konirna, Czech Republic

I knew very little about the restaurant other than the fact that they specialize in tripe, that alone was enough to get me excited about eating here. Only a short walking away from the John Lennon wall and the Charles bridge, we arrived at about 4, right when the sun was starting to set. The waiters seemed a little surprised that we were dining at such a strange timing, but we looked hungry enough that they seated us without and hesitation or question.

 

Mixed autumn greens with spiced slices of saddle of wild boar, honey-ginger dressing, marinated onions, pears and crushed almonds

The dressing was delicious, it had a nice acidity that was balanced by the overall sweetness of the dish, but that being said, the salad on the whole was a little too sweet for my liking- The boar wasn’t seasoned well enough to counteract the sweetness. However, pears did pair very well with the honey ginger dressing(Tongue twister?). Okay

 

 

Roasted medallions of wild boar saddle w sautéed Brussels sprouts and tyrdean bacon, Grenaille potatoes, wild game sauce w wild spices and juniper berries

Same meat as the salad, boar had a beef tenderloin consistency but lacked the punchy game-y taste to hold it’s own, needed more sauce. The meat was surprisingly nicely cooked, and didnt have a very large temperature gradient from the edge to the center. Okay

 

 

Homemade oxtail bouillon w liver dumplings, noodles and vegetables

The soup was surprisingly not as rich as I thought it would be even though oxtail has lots of collagen, which should’ve meant a good amount of gelatin in the soup, to make matters worse, it was overpowered by the presence of the liver dumplings which did not smell good at all. Very Bad

 

 

Fried tripe strips in potato mayonnaise w paprika oil

The paprika oil perfumed the tripe beautifully, unfortunately the taste of the tripe and its chewy texture got lost in the batter(Tripe cut too thin with batter too thick?. Mash potatoes were laden with butter and mayo, which made them very yummy for a first few mouthfuls before you realised how heavy they were. Okay

 

 

Chefs speciality- tripe cooked with herbs and sweet pepper

Dish was rich, thick and meaty, but the sweetness of the pepper seemed to balance out that meaty-ness quite nicely. The best tripe dish of the meal. Good


 

Tripe with mushrooms and liver dumplings

I actually thought that I would enjoy this more than the previous tripe dish, overall it had the same rich, thick consistency, but had a lot more umami with the taste of the shining though and masking the taste of the liver dumplings well, but the dish lacked the balance of the peppers and the meaty tones of the dish became overpowering very quickly. Okay

Modern roast pork w dumplings and cabbage sous vide- 250g central Bohemian piglet rump cooked in a vacuum and smoked pork brisket, potato dumplings, red cabbage w apple and star anise. 

I was very surprised to see meat cooked sous vide in a rustic restaurant like this, it goes to show the impact sous vide has had on the restaurant business, and I think now more than ever, the use of Sous Vide is starting to take over restaurants. Despite all this, the meat was disappointing, not a fantastic texture that some sous vide enthusiasts claim and rave about. Brisket was the best part of the dish and worked well with the acidity of the red cabbage. Okay

Pike perch from Trebon baked in garlic and thyme served with creamy spinach, mild potato puree and nutty butter.  

Fish was a little overcooked and not very moist, but the flavours worked well together and it was the most well put together plate of food we had in Prague. Okay

Potato puffs stuffed with poppy seeds in a plum sauce

 The potato puffs sounded a lot more interesting on the menu, but it was pretty disappointing. The puffs were actually quite far from being ‘puffs’, they were actually more dumpling-like, and were incredibly dense(ironic since puffs seem to give the impression or air-y ness and lightness), and the plum sauce was very rich, which made for a heavy  but not particularly enjoyable dish. Bad

Curd cheese dumplings stuffed with nougat served with cinnamon cream

The nougat was actually more of a chocolate sauce. Cheese didn’t have a very strong pungency, and had a dough-like texture that lent itself well to the frying that it went though. Nice contrast in the crisp exterior and melted sauce, the combination of chocolate,sour cream and cinnamon also worked well together. Good

Czech Republic

Grand Cafe Orient, Czech Republic

Located in the house of the Black Madonna, this cafe is Prague’s only Cubist cafe, and some items around the cafe are inspired by Cubist architecture, like the lampshades and coat-hooks.

 

Toasted baguette w Parma ham, mozzarella, basil pesto

The parma ham was way too intense and overpowered everything, including the pesto, looking at the picture, it seems a little strange because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of ham. Bad

Pancake w spinach, ham, cheeses, fried bacon

Again, a little on the salty side, but nowhere near as bad as the baguette.  The spinach lacked enough flavour to bring balance to the saltiness from the ham, cheese, and the bacon. Okay

 

 

Pancake with chicken, mushroom sauce, parmesan cheese

This was my favourite savoury course. Flavours were subtle but pronounced enough to discern on your tongue, mushroom sauce had a nice creamy consistency, not a particularly inspired combination of flavours, but it all came together very nicely. Pancake was nicely cooked and wasn’t ruined by a dough that was too thick. Okay

 

Kubsticky Venecek, traditional little Czech cake

Looks a lot like a doughnut, but it was more similar to an eclair: Same choux pastry, with a custard filling, but glazed w sugar over the top like a doughnut. Deceptively light and not too sweet. Okay

 

 

Grand cafe orient, light chocolate cream cake with a touch of mint

Almost every component of the cake was infused with mint, even the chocolate ‘twirl’. The cake was moist, the cream was fluffy and disappeared on the tongue. Overall a really light and easy to eat cake, with strong flavours. Good

 

Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the breakfast, the savoury dishes were nowhere near as good as their sweet counterparts, but the coffee was good, and its always nice to have a meal in a place that means something to the city you are visiting.

Czech Republic

U Vejodu, Czech Republic

I now begin my series of blog entries in Europe, firstly in Prague. Having landed just hours before dinner, we were quickly losing light, and the wet and cold weather wasn’t exactly helping with our jetlag. We ended up heading out for U Vejodu, a quaint looking but slightly touristy bar/restaurant in Prague.

The pretzels on every table, how long have they been there, were they safe to eat? These were questions we could not answer and weren’t going to take the risk finding out, especially when there was a fresh basket of bread next to it.

 

Beef broth with meat and noodles

It tasted a lot like it was made with Bovril, which may not sound particularly appetizing, but it was exactly what we needed. Okay

 

 

Toast: Savoury mix of pork and fresh hot pepper

This was surprisingly nice. The umami notes from the tomatoes in the sauce brought out the meaty notes of the pork, and the fresh peppers balanced everything out with a pleasant sweetness. The toast took up the sauce well but still remained crisp. Good

 

 

Beef goulash, Sprinkled with fresh onions and pepper, bread and bacon dumplings

The first of many goulashs we were going to have on the trip, and not a particularly memorable one. The bacon dumplings were dry and too dense, and the goulash was a little too savory. Bad

 

 

Knee of pork baked with dark beer, with horseradish and mustard

A combination of baking(Which leads to the crispy exterior), and braising in dark beer(melts the collagen so the meat is nice and soft), this was actually one of the better pork knees that we had, and we had a few. The meat was nice and crisp, the meat was moist, unfortunately, the pork knee laden with fat and it got a little difficult to eat after a while. The horseradish and mustard worked very well to cut the richness of the meat. Okay


 

 

St Wenceslas’ Sabre: Chicken breast, pork caree, sirloin of beef, pepper, onion, bacon

This was recommended by the server, when it arrived the only thing that I could think about it was, “Ohh, giant kebab”, it was only after we realised that the skewer was a sabre that we drew the link to the name of the dish, kind of an Eureka moment for dummies. This was actually the worst dish of the night, the only thing that wasn’t dried out was the bacon and vegetables. Meat with different cooking times really shouldn’t be cooked together. Bad

We left tipsy, which was a common theme in all our dining experiences in Eastern Europe