There are plenty of noodle joints in Prague but none of them are quite like Neb.O, a small and easily overlooked place on Perlová street, between Mustek and Narodni
This busy little restaurant is full of energy. As soon as you walk into the restaurant you see the chefs at work in the open kitchen, and despite being simple the restaurant’s design is attractive and modern – white, red and bare wood with just a few colourful posters tacked up, lit by bulbs strung across the ceiling on red cord and white candles on the windowsills. This minimalism isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but the colour here is in the kitchen and on the plates.
There are several Thai items on the menu, which is longer in reality than it is on the website. Servings are big – too big, even – and all of the soups including Pho are available large or small. I didn’t see the large portions, but their small soups aren’t really that small.
I was more tempted by their starters than mains. On one visit, we tried a sharing plate of starters with spring rolls, fresh rolls, battered shrimp, calamari rings and hoi sin sauce, sweet chilli dip and a pot of spicy tomato and cucumber salad.
The shrimp were the most popular thing on the plate; a couple of satisfying, tender bites in crispy batter. The fresh roll halves were disappointing and mainly contained noodles. Everything else was just average; I much prefer the similar Thai starter sharing plate at Yam Yam.
There are lots of crisp salads and bright, fragrant curries. The yellow curry (Com Cari Vang) with shrimp, carrot, peppers, bamboo shoots and rice was well presented, mild but still warming.
On another visit I had the wonton salad; a large, fiery bowl of warm glass noodles, cabbage, carrots and beansprouts spiced with coriander and ginger, topped with five soft wonton dumplings with a meaty pork and basil filling. It was hot, comforting and very tasty, but not enough so for me to make it through the huge portion.
The pad thai with beef came with the standard noodles, bean sprouts, spring onion, carrot, egg and lots of coriander and lime. The first time I tasted it was the best. The second time it was pure grease, and friends have had bad experiences.
Veggies – It doesn’t say so on the menu, but you can get a tofu version of the pad thai and quite a few other dishes if you ask.
The homemade iced teas, especially the ginger one, were so tasty and refreshing on my first visit. The next time they seemed to mainly contain sugar.
Both times I was too stuffed for dessert. In future I’d just order a “small” soup and some crispy prawns and that would be plenty – and I’m not exactly a picky, birdlike eater. Everything else was uninspiring or inconsistent.
The city centre location makes it a good place to meet friends for a quick lunch It’s not a place where people hang around for hours – the hard wooden seats probably make sure of that.
The best I can say is that it’s not a bad place for lunch when you’re in the centre, looking for something quick, tasty and inexpensive.