pondělí 25. ledna 2010

Grand restaurant festival - La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise

Everybody knows about the Grand restaurant festival right? A budget friendly opportunity to set foot in some of the best restaurants in Prague.
The first restaurant we were to visit was Ambiente group’s La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise. I don’t think there is any need to go into much detail about this place, anyone who is interested in gastronomy heard about this unique establishment.

We were greeted by the manager, who asked us for our reservation code, while he typed it into the computer a waiter took our coats. The manager offered us 3 tables, 2 by the entrance and one that is called the chef’s table, which is something like a bar lining the kitchen window. Of course, we chose the latter. A thin glass panel separated us from the small kitchen where some of the cooking takes place and where the plates are arranged. It was a pleasure to watch this perfectly coordinated team of professionals and see how all of the beautiful dishes were prepared. A unique experience.

Chef Oldřich Sahajdák at work. I was surprised to see that the majority of the kitchen staff was not older than 23-25 years. Some even looked younger than 20. A great start for a beginning chef.

We were asked whether we wated sparkling or still water and it was promptly brought to the table. After that our first amuse bouche arrived.

A Valhrona chocolate praliné with pepper and something else that I don’t remember J It was very good, but why serve a sweet amuse bouche at the start of a dinner? I guess it did have a deeper meaning.

Next the sommelier came, and asked us whether we wanted to choose our own wines or rely on them for the pairing. Pairing it was. The sommelier thoroughly introduced each one of the three wines.

Second amuse bouche – their famous beef tartar in a thin, crispy, wafer like bread. It was almost creamy. Husband liked this a lot.

Butter, salt and a choice of breads.

Prague ham with Malin horseradish sauce, baked potatoes and tiny cubes of stewed carrots. The ham tasted like real ham, which happens rarely these days. The horseradish sauce was delicate and not overpowering. A beautiful take on a classic dish and it all worked together quite well.

The svíčkova na smetaně was rather unusual. The beef was almost rare and very tender, almost too tender. This meat was probably cooked under very low temperature because even though it was practically raw, there was no trace of blood in it and it wasn’t red, but fairly light pink. But I’m no expert, I may be wrong. The dumpling, which was unusual as well but very good non the less, sat on a vegetable pureé. The sauce, the most important part of the dish, was smooth and silky. A cranberry jelly was served on top of that. Altogether it tasted and looked good, but this is not my favorite version of the dish.

Another amuse bouche – tomato raviolo with basil oil. A perfect example of molecular cuisine IMHO…how on earth do these people turn a tomato into an exploding blob of gel?? :) I guess it was meant as a palate cleanser, it was very refreshing and really did taste like tomato with basil.

Beef tongue with mashed peas and marinated (?) shallots. The star dish of the restaurant and I can now see why. The tongue was incredibly tender, almost like a paté. The rich pea mash and the caramelised onions were a perfect sidedish.

Dessert amuse bouche – tvaroh with a tropical fruits sauce. Smooth, creamy and sweet tvaroh was perfectly matched with this very tangy, fruity and intensive sauce. I’d eat it again any time.

I just had to take a picture of this batch of incredible looking desserts! The ball was actually pink and contrasted beautifully with the bright blue sauce.

The restaurant was full all of the time we have been there. Some people were there as part of the festival while others, mostly foreigners though, were enjoying regular dinners. I didn’t notice anyone of the personell behaving differently to these 2 groups of customers. I heard many people raise this argument of the staff behaving rudely or unattentive to those on a „budget“ during the festival. I don’t know about other places yet, but this was clearly not the case here.

When we were leaving the manager came to chat with us, among other things he asked about the other place we planned to visit during the festival. He also asked what dish we liked the best. For me it was the tongue and the dessert, for husband it was the tongue and the tartar.

We were handed 2 small golden cardboard boxes. The manager said they were chocolate muffins to go with our morning coffee. We don’t really drink coffee and we surely were not going to wait until morning :) The muffins were a bit unusual, on the drier side but with a very intensive chocolate flavor. Perfect!

I’m really happy we got a chance to get a glimpse of this place. I always wanted to go there, but spending almost 10 grand on a dinner with wine is beyond our income, at least for now. It’s a very fine example of a unique concept paired with perfectly professional service and great food.

** I may be wrong, but it seems to me that there is a mistake on their website. On my computer the English and French versions quote only one menu! There is a choice between 2 menus but the content is the same!

2 komentáře:

  1. I'm very jealous. I've always wanted to eat at La Degustation, too. I wanted to go for the festival, but my lady talked me out of it, saying they were just serving svickova.

    What was the price per person with the wine?

    Nice post.

  2. It was just 900! That was for the 3 full size dishes, the amuse bouche and 3 glasses of wine+water. You could also prepay a tasting menu for 600 each. That would have included smaller portions of each dish and the 3 glasses of wine.
    Yeah, they do serve svickova, but it's a totally different svickova :)