sobota 12. února 2011

Remember Asian restaurant

It's been a looooong time since I last blogged and I hope there is still someone following :-)
Our baby Ivan is almost 6 months old now and sometimes he is kind enough to let us eat out somewhere.
This restaurant was recommended in two comments to Mr. Cuketka's recent post on Vietnamese cuisine. Since we don't live too far away and the weather was nice, we decided to take a walk a give it a try. I hereby thank the people who recommended it :-)

Remember took over from a Chinese restaurant. The place is a bit cramped and overdecorated, but clean and cozy. You can actually see the kitchen in a window behind the bar and it also looks clean and well organized.
It's great that the staff speak very good Czech and have good knowledge of the menu. A huge plus point for that.

We decided to go for the most popular items, so we had to order the spring rolls. These were very nice. The cook didn't skimp on herbs like they do in Hanoi, where the filling is mostly noodles without any particular taste. The rolls contained shrimp, noodles, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, carrot, omelette, soy sprouts, cilantro and mint, with the usual sweetish dressing. This is the ultimate summer food.

My Nam Bo. The dish contained all the usual suspects - noodles, sweet sauce, beef, herbs, vegetables and peanuts. I love this type of dishes - fresh, crunchy, lots of different textures and profound flavors. I liked it a lot.

Husband's Pho with rare meat (number two on the menu) could have been hotter, but it was tasty nonetheless. It wasn't greasy as the Pho in the Holesovice trznice tends/used to be and had a clean, deep, concentrated beef and spice flavour, without excessive MSG use. Maybe there even wasn't any, we didn't feel thirsty afterwads like we do after Hanoi's Pho. Pickled bamboo, sliced chili and a lemon wedge were served on the side. More herbs would have been more than welcome though.

There is a small shrine inside the restaurant, not something you see often here.

In my opinion Remember serves way better food than the only other Vietnamese restaurant in town - Hanoi (Sapa market doesn't count). I haven't been to the Holesovice trznice for quite a while, but rumour has it that it's gone down a lot. The bistro on Sokolovska didn't impress me, even though it gets much praise. Remember restaurant has an extensive menu, with both Vietnamese and "Asian" dishes, which is probably necessary in Prague if you want to make some revenue. I think it could become a favorite, but we will have to see how it deals with the increasing popularity, due to the mention on Mr. Cuketka's site and the increasing awerness of Vietnamese food. As for me, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Remember and will return asap.

pátek 8. října 2010

Where is Eatinginprague?

Eatinginprague is very busy. Too busy to blog, too busy to cook and too busy too eat out. The reason for it being this little, 6 week old fella...

He takes up all of my time at the moment. Even though I miss all the good food and the fun, there is not a single minute I can spare to pursue my blogging career for a couple more months. I hope there is still someone reading this and I promise to come back as soon as possible with some new stuff :-)

Meanwhile, enjoy these incredible photos from a cookbook Ikea is about to issue. Perfect, huh? :-)

sobota 24. července 2010


Prague is short of places like noodle, salad or sandwich bars, or other places serving good and cheap lunch grub. Polevkarna is such a place, specializing in soups and savoury pastries. It's a quite small bistro like establishment where you order at the bar, collect your food and find a place to sit either outside or inside. I'm sure that the proximity of quite a few big office buildings was the reason for opening at this venue in Karlin.
We arrived at 2 p.m. and there was only 2 kinds of soup out 4 left to choose from. A good sign - the place seems to be popular. None of us 2 was eager on the bean soup with walnuts, which I later regretted, so we both went for big serves of borsch. To go with it we ordered a piece of cheese chachpuri and fried eggplant with walnut paste served on home-made bread. The bill for 2 big soups, the chachapuri, eggplant and 1 Mattoni was 206kc - a very good deal in my opinion.
The borsch was very good. With just the right level of sweetness and acidity, crunchy vegetables and some meat. This isn't the borsch you sometimes get served in Czech restaurants, but a proper version of the soup.
The generous slice of cheese chachapuri went very well with the hot soup. Chachapuri has to be quite salty, because the cheese it's originally made with is very salty. Here in Prague, brynza or balkanský sýr mixed with tvaroh could be used to make chachapuri. No idea what the cook used here, but it was mighty tasty. They also had spinach and bean chachapuri on display, but we decided to stick to the classic this time and we did not go wrong. The slice of fried eggplant with a smooth walnut paste is a brilliant example of healthy and tasty finger-food. The home-made bread it was served on was wonderful.
The place clearly has a Georgian cook, there is no doubt about that. The superb chachapuri is a clear sign, as well as the little "sandwiches" with eggplant or spinach are typical Georgian and it all tastes very homey. Also the soups they serve often have a Caucasian or Russian feel to them - Bean soup with walnuts (walnuts are a staple in Caucasian cuisine), Chicken soup with tarragon (one of the most popular herbs in Georgia), Okroshka (a cold Russian soup made either with kefir or kvas), Borsch etc.
Below is the menu for the day of our visit. Short, straight forward and cheap. Everything is cooked fresh everyday and they do not seem to be left with any left-overs. By the time we were leaving they ran out of the bean soup as well. They announce the daily menu on their facebook page every day.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Polevkarna and hope they will open another outlet somewhere in the center. If they keep up the good quality, low prices and the simple koncept, they might soon see queues lining their entrance - I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case already.

středa 14. července 2010

Ladronka gourmet restaurant

Ladronka is a park, but I it’s definitely not my favorite park in Prague. The reason for it being that it’s full of inline skaters and people riding bikes. Don’t get me wrong, I like sports and I do sports…..but there is no space for pedestrians in the front part of this park. You get angry and annoyed looks all the time if you step onto the inline or bike paths, if you don’t pay attention you can get easily overrun. So the best idea is to quickly cross this dangerous area and head deeper into the park where there is plenty of green and beautiful lawns. But if you are into inlining then this park is perfect!

Usedlost Ladronka is a big complex, with 2 restaurants, 1 fast food stall with plenty of shaded outside seating, facing several beach volleyball courts. There is plenty of other outside and inside activities like bowling, inline rental, petanque etc. When the weather is nice the place is completely crowded and you could spend a whole day there without getting bored.

But we were after more sophisticated dining...the Ladronka gourmet restaurant. We came across this place by accident, while looking for a nice place to have another family celebration. The place seemed "new" as I never read or heard of it. It’s fairly small and has a very nice, smallish terrace with a unique view of the park itself and the city panorama. When we came to inquire about reserving a table we were informed that they are French restaurant specializing in exclusive wines and food. The waiter stressed that there was no draught beer and no dogs allowed. We quickly looked through the menu, decided that it looked alright and made a reservation for 10 people.

When we arrived at 6 p.m. it was still very very hot and although the terrace disposed of an enormous a very sophisticated umbrella there was no way of getting any shade. Our table stood directly in the gleaming sun, while all the other, empty, tables took up the surrounding shade. Weird, if you ask me. But the staff did not seem to consider it a problem. BTW, not all of us arrived, there was only 8 of us in the end, but we informed the staff about this in advance by phone.

The views from the terrace are very nice...

The service was very considerate and polite, but it definitely wasn’t friendly or smiley. We weren’t given menus when we were seated, instead there were small pieces of paper under each guest’s napkin with an extract from the menu. There was a choice of 2 soups, 1 salad, 4 main courses and 2 desserts. No appetizers. When we asked why we weren’t given the full menu we were informed that the offer on the little pieces of paper were menu choices for large groups. We could choose from the normal menu, but it would take longer to serve us. Another thing I didn’t quite understand, because the choices were totally the same as in the normal menu.

Nevertheless, the regular menu has a choice of 3 soups, 2 appetizers, 3 salads and about 8 main courses. I didn’t think that their menu is particularly well designed. With one appetizer costing under 100 crowns and the other costing just under 400 crowns, it doesn't leave too many choices to the majority of people. The main course section offers a better selection. In the end all of us narrowed our choice to 1 appetizer and 1 salad and 3 main courses. *The online menu does not completely correspond with the onsite menu.

Above is my virgin mojito...way too sweet. The rest of the party drank wine, I'm not a wine expert so I avoid writing about it. All there is to say is that it was all good. The restaurant offers bottles costing over 20 000 crowns, but also some very reasonably priced and good quality wines.

Above is an amuse bouche we all received as a compliment from the chef. It was some kind of salmon pâté or rather mousse, with a few pieces of smoked salmon and a sweetish wine reduction type sauce. It was alright and extremely small :-) I thought it looked rather ridiculous on this huge plate, and I am used to small things on big plates. The also served tasty bread rolls, but surprisingly no butter or even olive oil. I would have been happier if they served some garlic and herb butter for the bread instead of this salmon thingy.

Foie gras with nectarines and some kind of fruit jelly. There are no active PETA members among us, so 4 from the party ordered this. It was a serious piece of foie gras served on a dense toast and with the sweet sides. This was alright but not spectacular. It was too raw for two diners.

Ceasar salad with prawns. It was a great Ceasar salad, with a well made dressing and crunchy Romaine lettuce. However, the prawns were just the average frozen stuff you get everywhere else. Overall I liked this, but just because of the very tasty and most importantly proper Ceasar dressing.

The first main course that came out of the kitchen was the Goose leg confit with cabbage and dumplings. The meat was good, well seasoned, tender and not greasy, as goose often tends to be. Thumbs up for the goose.

Lamb chops with ratatouille. They were way too raw for all of the people who ordered them. Some chops were not even warm. They were all sent back to the kitchen and came back a little more cooked, but still medium. After that they were delicious, very good meat just with the right amount of fat. The ratatouille was especially great.

Pike perch with chanterelles and a truffle espuma. I guess I could call this tasty. I couldn't taste any truffles in the white foam, but it went very well with the chanterelles, which I love. The fish itself was very well cooked and fresh, but unfortunately there were many bones in it. It was a fillet and in my opinion a fillet should not contain bones. There wasn't one or two or even five of them, but rather fifteen large bones. Another thing I didn't appreciate were the chips like potatoes on top, they were tasty by themselves or would have been great with a beer, but this delicate dish deserved a creamier side like mashed potatoes or creamed spinach or risotto.

Cremant jelly with sorbet. Refreshing, and very sour. Expect to have a blue tongue until the next morning.

Chocolate fondant. A good take on a classic, creamy and warm inside. I liked this!

Strawberry dumplings. Looks good, doesn't it? And it was tasty too. Sweet and fragrant straberries and the creamy, warm vanilla sauce made the perfect match.

Overall we liked this dinner, especially because of the beautiful setting. The food needs improvement however. Or perhaps the menu needs to be adjusted. The place might be a bit too expensive and too luxurious for this location, but despite this, customers were coming in all the time, although mostly having only dessert or salad. I guess we would come back if they amended the menu a bit, broadening the appetizer section and maybe adding some fresh seafood.

pondělí 28. června 2010

Artisan restaurant

More than 2 months have passed since my last post...2 very busy months. All we did for the last 2 months was study and in the end we were rewarded. Proud pan inženýr and paní inženýrka deserved a small celebration and Artisan restaurant it was.
The place is fairly new and tucked away in a very quiet corner between Mala strana and Smichov. Not only it is easily reachable by foot or tram, but there is almost always free parking space right next to it. I didn't make any photos of the interior, they're available on the restaurant's website.
We came at about 6.30 p.m. and decided to sit on the outside terrace.

Soon after we were seated and given menus the bread arrived. It was tasty, dense and crusty bread, which has probably been grilled shortly. It was served with whipped butter. Simple, but tasty.

Above is the salmon ceviche with mango and jalapeno. A very colorful dish and it surely was tasty, but this is not something I would ever call a ceviche. It was rather a salmon carpaccio served with a mango and chilli chutney on toast. A ceviche, in my opinion, is something like this - pieces of raw fish marinated in lemon juice until becoming opaque and mixed with the other ingredients. Artisan's version served it's purpose as a good carpaccio, the fish was fresh, the mango was ripe, the toast was crunchy. I wish they served some lime wedges with it.

Husband surely made better choices this evening. His scallops with pea puree were fantastic. They were surprisingly big, lightly grilled and very juicy inside. The pea puree was velvety and the sweetish port reduction worked very well with it. These were the best scallops we have ever eaten in Prague.

I decided to go for the open ravioli with duck ragout. Again, I expected something else, but these were alright. The ragout was on the sweet side and tasted strongly of root vegetables. The meat was cut up in very small pieces and overall I thought that the sauce was too thin to be served with this type of pasta. It would have been better with tagliatelle or a similar pasta variety. It was tasty, but not something I would order again. A guest sitting at the table next to us ordered the bbq ribs, these looked incredible and I wish I ordered those :-) Next time!

Husband's black pepper steak was the star of the dinner. Very good quality meat, grilled to perfection and served with tasty sides. Husband said it was one of the top 3 steaks in Prague.

He savoured every bit and later said that it's a pity that they didn't offer bigger steaks on the menu. My favourite part were the haricots verts, they were very crunchy but not stringy. The chef in Artisan definitely knows how to cook a good steak and we would go back for it any time!

I decided to try their crème brûlée, as it's one of my favourite desserts. It was very decent, although a tad too sweet for my liking. I've never seen a crème brûlée with so many black vanilla dots, however the vanilla taste was not overwhelming.
As for drinks - husband had a few draught Pilsener, while I stuck to Mattoni. I haven't had any alcohol for a loooong time and I'm starting to miss it! There's nothing I can say about the wine list and other drinks on offer...
We were the only guests when we arrived, but more and more people started coming in after 7 p.m. The place seems to be popular and I strongly hope they will keep up the good quality, friendly service and acceptable prices. Overall we enjoyed this dinner a lot and we would return anytime!

úterý 20. dubna 2010

Asparagus farm in Hostin u Vojkovic

The asparagus season just started! Back in the days of the First Republic, Czechoslovakia was renowned for its asparagus, which it exported all over Europe. Unfortunately, over the years this fame faded and almost no asparagus is grown here anymore. Almost! I’ve numerously heard and read about a big asparagus farm near Mělnik, but never got around to actually visiting it. I needed to think about something else after weeks of studying and most importantly after a heartbreaking parting with someone we deeply loved. Yep, April was sad time for us. So I asked husband if he couldn’t take me to this farm to look around and buy some asparagus.

The village where the farm is located is not far away from Prague, just a 15 minute drive away from Letňany. The typical asparagus fields, covered with black plastic foil, were a clear sign that we were there. We drove into the agricultural complex on the other side of the road, parked our car and started wandering around in search for people. There was no one there.

We finally found a small sign on a building saying Bohaemer Spargel Kultur, which also said that the office is on the second floor. We walked up the stairs and knocked on the door. A gentleman opened up and we asked him about the asparagus. He replied that he doesn’t speak Czech…:-) It's an advantage that I speak German, because he neither spoke any English. He said that there was no problem with buying asparagus and that we had to follow him with our car. We drove through the somewhat rundown and abandoned, but considerably big complex and finally the man wandered into a big hall. We parked and walked inside too.
What was inside was rather surprising…there was one tiny automatic sorting link in the big hall, operated by four Asian gentlemen. They were washing and sorting out the asparagus and putting it in boxes. There was another gentleman who approached us and asked what we wanted. We said “Asparagus!”. He inquired how much we wanted, what quality and whether we had something to put it in. We handed him a plastic bag. Yeah, I know we should have taken a basket with us, and requested 1 kilogram of first quality. He put some asparagus stalks into our bag, put it on the scale and asked us for 100 crowns. I was actually afraid that they would not sell us any because we only wanted so little, but there was absolutely no problem. We paid and left :-)
There wasn’t one single Czech person we met, the men we spoke to were probably Dutch, not German for sure, and there were 2 cars with Dutch signs parking outside.

Now, to the actual asparagus. I’m not really a big expert but IMHO this asparagus is way better than anything you could find in town. It’s plump, firm and it really cannot get any fresher than that. It virtually came from the field.

The ends where it has been cut off were oozing with the "juice", they just had no time to dry out. This is clearly the best and freshest asparagus I have ever encountered here and I hope it will taste good too! And most importantly it’s local!

I’ve been to Makro last week and the asparagus sold there came from Chile, it was soft and dry at the ends and cost 90kc for 500gr. These beautiful white stalks above cost only 100kc for a kilogram! Second quality would have been even cheaper.
It's a great pity that asparagus is nost so popular here yet. Back in the days when we lived in Munich there was an asparagus craze every year during its season. Everybody had to go out and eat asparagus with sauce Hollandaise, or asparagus with new potatoes and ham and cook asparagus at home. Germans eat lots of asparagus and during asparagus season the shops are full with gadgets for cooking and serving it. Hopefully this tradition will migrate here, because it's a very healthy, tasty and not difficult to cook delicacy.
*The Boheamer Spargel Kultur farm is located in a village called Hostin u Vojkovic. If you are driving from the direction of Vojkovice you have to cross the whole village, the farm is on the outscirts. There is no information about the farm on the net, or at least I haven't found any. There is no sign indicating that it's located there on the road or in the village. It has been mentioned many times in different magazines, but I felt that no one from the magazines actually got around to visiting it because they supplied very scarce and similar information. Only white asparagus is sold there and there is nothing like a shop or anything. It's a fairly big complex of old agricultural buildings, that are not used. I think that it's best to go there in the morning or early afternoon. When you come there you'll see a long white building on the left side, the office entrance is on the side facing the road. If there's no one there, try to walk deeper into the premises and peek inside the halls, maybe you'll find someone ;-)

středa 17. března 2010

This blog is not dead - Luka lu and some personal stuff

This restaurant has been a favorite of ours ever since it opened. We mostly find ourselves there when we have a family celebration or when there is a larger party of us. Funny, but we never go there when there is just the two of us. What makes this restaurant so popular is the consistent quality of food and flexible service, it doesn’t pose a problem for them to assemble assorted plates of food for the whole table and they will easily adjust any dish according to the customer’s wish. The interior is a bit cramped, but there is a certain charm to it and their garden is beautiful.
This time we were there for another family celebration.

The usual bread and spreads arrived. I love their white bread, I could it eat all the time.
We ordered appetizers for the table.

Grilled calamari. This is a crowd pleaser and we always order this, these were fresh, moist and very good.

This is the assorted appetizer platter with a double portion of grilled peppers. The cured ham is very good, it’s soft and moist, not one of those overly dry hams you would get elsewhere. The cheeses are quite forgettable. Grilled, marinated peppers are one of my all time favorite foods. I make them at home all the time in season. Too bad they don’t serve any salty feta-like cheese with them, but otherwise they’re delicious.

Lamb sausages, another popular dish. Juicy, savory sausages go very well with the grilled peppers and the fluffy, soft bread.
The main courses:

Grilled dorade (sea bream) – I don’t know where they get these small sea breams, the ones sold in shops around town are much bigger. This was as good as it always is - moist and flaky. I bet that sea bream and the seabass are the two most popular fishes in this restaurant and I must admit that we never order other fish. It’s always fresh and perfectly cooked.

Grilled lamb chops – they could be a tad softer, but still these are better than many of the lamb chops you’ll get elsewhere.

Lamb sač (pod pekom) – this is another big favorite. The tender chunks of slow cooked meat, stewed with potatoes and carrots melt in your mouth. But this time the dish needed a good pinch of salt. Next to the lamb is the šopský salat, it is quite big and costs only 65 crowns, it’s one of the best value šopský salads I know of. Most importantly they don’t skimp on cheese and the tomatoes in their salads are edible all year round.

Seafood risotto – it tasted rather of cream than of tomato and was a bit too dry, although it doesn't look like it. There was plenty of seafood, mostly small prawns and squid and 3 big mussels. It was flavorful but there are better seafood risottos in Prague.

We were too full to fit in desserts.

I wouldn’t call this place cheap, but most of the dishes are reasonably priced. Add this to the considerably “expensive” location and you will realize that the ROI ratio is very reasonable. What I don’t like is the fact that they serve German mineral water in big bottles, local Mattoni is readily available and I do not appreciate these widely spread attempts to make money out of nothing. We can always ask for imported water if we want some. What we do like is their house wine and the wide choice of fruit spirits.

*** It's been more than a month since I posted for the last time. The reason for it was the fact that I wasn't too keen on food in the last 3 months. There are certain changes going on in my body that prevented me from eating most stuff except Mcdonald's, apples, kefir and crackers...if you know what I mean ;-) I couldn't look at food, I couldn's smell food and I couldn't cook food. Poor husband had to cook himself and eat in the bedroom sometimes. But now it seems that I'm beginning to feel fine and so this blog is alive again, at least until late August :-)