Another addition to the growing number of interesting places to eat around Namesti Miru is Putica, a shiny new bistro and restaurant with a vaguely Spanish theme, which opened up last week at Anglická 24.
I’m not much of a Spanish speaker but if the name means what I think it means, I’m guessing the owner lost a bet.
The brand new, spotless interior was inviting enough and quite stylish, with warm wood, oversized mirrors on the walls and lighting under the comfy seats along the sides of the room.
We were the only people in there (another table of two arrived later) and there were loads of staff. That can be so awkward and uncomfortable, and usually I’d hate it. But it was actually fine. The staff were genuinely nice and friendly, and the place felt very relaxed. They had the radio on, playing mostly golden oldies. That made me feel a bit like I was at the hairdresser’s.
There’s no menu online yet so we were in for a surprise. It turned out to be quite small, but well thought out, featuring tapas, burgers and larger dishes with more of a Czech flavour.
There are eight tapas dishes on the menu, including salmon marinated in white rum, strawberry gazpacho, and baked feta with olive tapenade. The three types of burger on the menu are beef, shrimp or pulled pork.
Since I’m always drawn to the more intriguing-sounding menu items, especially anything I’ve never seen before, I went for the Thai shrimp burger, at 200kc.
The shrimp tasted fresh, and had a good hit of coriander and a slight spiciness. There was shredded cucumber on top of the patty, and there was mango chutney somewhere in there too but it could barely be tasted.
The burger was a good size and easy to pick up and eat. The homemade bun was dense enough to stay easily in one piece, without being too heavy or bland. It was a bit unusual, with a springy texture and slight sweetness.
I thought it worked very well with the shrimp, so well that we imagined this type of bun must’ve been specially chosen for the shrimp burger (My Swedish companion said that it was just like the sort of bread used for shrimp sandwiches in Sweden, if that means anything to anyone) but I’m told they also use them for the beef burger and pulled pork sandwich. I can’t imagine it’s the best bun ever for those.
There’s also a ‘mini burger trio’ on the menu, with one of each to try, for 220kc.
The burgers come with a choice of salad or chips. You may be surprised to learn that I’m not a massive fan of salad. The chips were homemade, skin on, and tasty though not at all crispy.
There’s BBQ sauce and homemade mayo on the menu for an extra charge (exactly how much, I can’t remember)
The flank steak was one of the larger main dishes on the menu, with other interesting-sounding combinations including roast chicken with a warm lentil salad and thyme demi-glace, and a pea risotto with goats cheese.
It was one of the better flank steaks I’ve had around town. Lean, tender and juicy, if on the rare side (we asked for medium rare) and a generous portion for 290kc.
It came with creamy mashed potato, a rich shiitake mushroom demi-glace and a crunchy piece of caramelised asparagus.
The beer, Černá Hora Páter, was light and refreshing enough to be drunk with anything on the menu.
For dessert, there’s only one choice: churros. These freshly deep-fried lengths of dough, rolled in sugar, came with pieces of fresh strawberry and a slightly too-thin chocolate sauce for dipping. The 65kc portion was enough for two (already quite full) people to share.
Food seemed to be taking a little longer than it should to come out of the kitchen, especially considering the number of staff to customers in there. Some of the staff had so little to do that they spent the whole time chatting to some friends who were drinking beers in the doorway. That didn’t look so great when we arrived, and didn’t fill me with confidence, but overall I was pleasantly surprised.
For serious burger fans, it might not cut it – Dish is right around the corner and I’m not sure this place is even trying to be a serious contender for the gourmet burger crown. But it has loads of potential, the food is creative, well-prepared and good value for money, and I can’t wait to try more from their menu.
Sadly I’ll have to wait, as I’m just about to leave for the UK for a few weeks – which is why I’m posting about this already – but I hope anyone who visits will send me their reports and photos on Facebook or Twitter, or let me know what you thought of it in the comments below :)
putica.cz (there’s nothing much on there for now)