Hello – and happy Halloween!
I’m glad you’ve apparently managed to find some time between cobbling together fancy dress outfits, and bouts of semi-drunken pumpkin carving (or is that just me?) in preparation for Friday to have a look over these bits and bobs of foodie news from around the city.
– It looks like Prague might just have its first proper, sort-of upscale Vietnamese restaurant. Gao Den seems to be a bit more sophisticated than your average Prague Vietnamese restaurant, with a designer dining room and interesting fusion menu.
The menu was created by a Vietnamese chef, and features most of the popular Vietnamese dishes (including a grilled pork banh mi sandwich on the current lunch menu, for those of us with new-found addictions!) but there are also some international flavours on there.
I haven’t had chance to go yet. It’s in Prague 5, sort of near Luziny metro, and I haven’t been out there since I lived in a big panelak next to the station (about five years ago) because there’s nothing much there. It might* be easier to get there by bus since it’s right by a stop called Píškova. (*I’m guessing – don’t blame me if you end up in the middle of nowhere!)
– From one designer dining room to another, this time right in the middle of town – Yam Yam, one of my favourite Thai restaurants (now a small chain of them, actually), has opened a new branch at Vodickova 38, right over the other side of Wenceslas Square from one of its three other branches.
This new “centrum”/”express” branch has a takeaway window complete with special quick menu. I ordered the red chicken curry to take out, so I didn’t get to spend much time admiring the trendy interior. But the curry was every bit as good as at my favourite Yam Yam location, by Vysehrad. I know some people might find my love of a place that has a front-row view of a metro station platform slightly odd, but I like the atmosphere there. One minute there’s a rush of trains and people, the next it’s just you and the city (and a big Russian family fighting over the last spring roll. But you get the idea.)
– Sushi Time, the popular delivery company, has finally opened its long-awaited Andel bistro after some technical problems. I used to order from them regularly a couple of years ago, and was always happy with their sushi – less so with their overpoweringly hot “Thai” curries. But I just sort of forgot about it. Evidently lots of people didn’t. The menu is different, now huge and a bit gimmicky (sushi sandwich, anyone?) still, I’m looking forward to visiting the bistro and finding out if the food is still any good.
– A little bird also tells me that there are a couple of new markets opening up. Trznice Dlouha 14 will open up in early November on… well, you can guess which street, can’t you? The owners of this upscale, quality-focused food market say it’s modelled on the modern urban markets of Munich, Frankfurt and Paris. It will be home to a couple of delis and shops selling everything from fish to vegetables, apparently, but I’m happy to see it will include a branch of Moje Kredenc – the one at Flora is a regular stop, as I like their french sausages with nuts, and this unappetising-sounding “Old Gouda”. I like the 9-month old one. There’s an even older version though if you like properly stinky cheese…
There will be a wine cellar downstairs with some 800 Czech and international bottles. It all sounds like it’s going to be a bit pricey, but if you need somewhere to splurge your cash now that Julius Meinl is gone, this may be the place for you – and it looks like the produce will be of a lot better quality.
Then there’s the Nowaco market. Yes, that’s right – those kings of the Czech supermarket freezer section have recently opened a market of their very own on Havlickova, Prague 1. Somehow the idea of a frozen food company, owned by a massive food wholesaler, opening a market doesn’t fill me with much excitement. But hey, it has celebrity chef endorsement, and we all know that always means good things. Right? They sell lots of frozen stuff obviously, but also some fresh fish and Italian cheese, pasta, sauces, etc. It’s got to be better than Albert.
– This isn’t even remotely gourmet, but I was excited to find that the new and awesome Beergeek bar is serving Pukka pies (chicken or beef) while they get their full kitchen set up. Yes, the very same pies found at football matches and in mums’ freezers up and down the UK. God I love those pies. And eating them with the best Czech craft beers to be found… possibly anywhere, is just a bit too good. If you don’t share my rampant enthusiasm for pies, they also let you bring in your own food from elsewhere.
– what else? Oh, Prague now has its very own bitcoin cafe. Mega hipster points for that. It’s actually part of a new crypto-anarchy institute, and you can find out what one of those is here. The things you learn from reading a food blog. eh?
– And finally, I’m now on Instagram (ok, I have been for a while, but I’m now actually using it.) so please follow me on there if you want to see yet more photos of my dinner!
Until next time…