Prague’s restaurateurs have been hard at work by the look of it, getting 2014 off to a good start with some very interesting new openings.
After several delays, the much-anticipated new Prague Beer Museum finally opened its doors near Namesti Miru. First impressions are that it’s a huge improvement on the Dlouha location; cleaner, less smoky and more inviting, with lots of very interesting beers available, but service was frustratingly slow (both for me on my short visit, and for friends who have eaten there,)
This time, I only had room for a beer snack. The pickled hermelin was as good as it gets, but it took so long to arrive I started wondering if it was being pickled to order. I’ll be back soon to try out their menu, which includes lots of Czech classics and some lighter things, such as chicken pasta and salad.
Americka 43, Prague 2
One of the most interesting recent openings is the Sexy Curry Company, a new venture which, perhaps confusingly, is operated out of an Irish pub. But never fear, this isn’t the after-pub takeaway so popular at home in the UK. By all accounts, it’s quite a lot classier and, well, sexier than that.
Run by the celebrated chef Sofia Smith (previously of Sansho and Le Patio), it started out as a series of special curry nights at the The James Joyce Irish pub and is now a permanent fixture in the evenings, alongside the regular menu, available to eat in or take away. Prices are on the steep side, with most dishes upwards of 200kc without sides. They also do “pop up” curry nights at the Bio Oko cinema.
The James Joyce
U obecniho dvora 4, Prague 1
The Pie Shop‘s owners tell me they’re hard at work testing out new recipes and making improvements (last month’s review here) before the grand opening of their first permanent shop premises in mid-February. The location for now is being kept secret, but I’m looking forward to visiting and trying out the new pies when it’s open.
Fans of raw food will be pleased to hear that The Secret of Raw has just opened the Czech Republic’s first raw pastry shop, Sweet Secret of Raw, with fruit cocktails, chocolate cake, cheesecakes, coffee, raw hot chocolate and even organic wine and raw cheese. The interior looks pretty stylish, too.
Rumunská 25, Prague 2
On the 20th, the new deli by the people behind the hugely popular La Bottega Di Finestra and Restaurant Aromi opened up next to the TV Tower in Zizkov. Gastronomica La Bottega Di Aromi sells meats, cheeses, salads, sweets, wine and many of the italian goods found at Finestra, but the most exciting part is the menu of freshly cooked food available to eat in. While not exactly cheap, prices aren’t always as steep as the classy-looking interior might suggest.
They have a blackboard with daily specials, and on a lunch visit I tried their minestrone soup followed by meatballs with cauliflower and roast potatoes for 165kc. I’ve sadly lowered my expectations when it comes to most lunch menus, since most places seemingly lose any interest they usually have in quality or taste, but this was fresh, perfectly cooked and full of flavour. They also have a breakfast menu, served all day, featuring scrambled eggs with salmon, eggs benedict, pancakes, fruit salad and more, with most items under 150kc.
Ondříčkova 17, Prague 3
Nearby, just off Jiriho z Podebrad square, there’s new “hipster” bakery in town: Antoninovo Pekarstvi, which opened up on the 17th.
As far as I can see,,the hipster bit extends to nothing more than having friendly staff and enlisting the help of a donkey for marketing purposes. Either way, their bread and cakes, freshly baked on the premises with no additives or other nasty stuff, mean there’s no need for any of us living nearby to gnaw on a stale rohlik ever again (hey, sometimes I’m too busy to go hunting down fresh artisan focaccia…) This place might even manage to convert me into a fan of Czech baking.
Laubova 4, Prague 3
And, while we’re in the area, a quick reminder that the JZP farmer’s market is already back on (Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – full details here) and the market at Naplavka will return on February 15th.
That’s all for now! If you’ve tried any of these places or have any more suggestions please let me know in the comments, or on Twitter.