With the discovery of Rekorderlig Swedish cider in my local Liquorland a few weekends ago (the strawberry is to d i e for), my search for European cuisine was reignited when a friend of mine proposed dinner on a Wednesday night.
And so came the discovery of Prague Beer Restaurant, a name simple it all its glory and yet unheard of on the western front (or maybe just in my world).
After a trip to Prague at the beginning of this year, I was especially keen to relive the experience and see if Australia’s self-proclaimed multiculturalism could live up to its name. …And after seeing $10 beer jugs and $12.95 pork knuckles on the happy hour menu (Sundays – Thursdays, 5.30pm – 7pm), it didn’t take much convincing.
Gambrinus Pilsner – $10 a jug
There are four types of Czech-imported beers at Prague Beer Restaurant, all brewed in the Czech Republic and not expensive to boot! Was a very sharp, clean taste with excellent head and a strong yeast flavour (so probably not the best choice if you’re not a beer drinker).
Even though it’s not winter anymore, the Prague Winter Special holds true with an early bird two course set dinner available Sundays – Thursdays at $25 per head, if you order between 5.30pm – 7pm.
In hopes of trying as much Czech cuisine as possible in one night, we opted for the menu and were given complimentary bread baskets,
Bread basket – Rye and White
..although on second thought, it probably came with the goulash soup.
Goulash Soup – $11.90
Traditional Czech style Goulash soup with potatoes
Tradiční gulášovka s bramborami
As far as I’m aware, goulash is actually Hungarian but I’ve heard it’s quite a popular dish in the Czech Republic as well. The soup itself was deliciously thick and littered with chunks of meat and potato, and seasoned with paprika and what may possibly have been a variety of other spices.
Stuffed mushrooms – $11.90
Crunchy fried mushrooms stuffed with blue cheese served with home-made tartar sauce
Do křupava smažené a nivou plněné žampiony podávané s domácí tatarskou omáčkou
I’m generally the kind of person who would steer far away from blue cheese, especially after my first experience of gulping the mould down (and not realising it was mould) ..and then promptly drowning myself with water.
I should probably point out that the blue cheese flavour is not subtle …or in my opinion, anyway.
I’m sure for the cheese lovers among us, some would say that the cheese wasn’t strong enough ! But I could definitely taste the blueness – that’s not to say this entrée wasn’t good, either – I just needed to dip (drown) the balls in tartar sauce to make it edible.
Marinated Beef “Svickova” – $22
Grandma’s old secret recipe for beef marinated in creamy root – vegetable sauce served with bread dumplings and cranberry sauce, slice of lemon & whipped cream
Hovězi svíčková na smetaně s houskovým knedlikem servirovaná s citronovo – brusinkovým terčikem a zdobená šlehačkou
In my head, this was the ultimate test of the authenticity of the restaurant. I had a Czech friend who introduced me to this dish in Prague, and informed me that it is a very popular meal in the Republic.
The beef itself was not a stand-out but clearly reminiscent of the same meal I had eaten in Prague. There was also a dollop of cream on a smear of cranberry sauce placed on a lemon – not sure how I was supposed to eat it but I’m not a fan of cream anyway!
And IMHO, the poorly named bread dumplings (houskové knedlíky) should just be renamed to “bread slices”, because that’s what they really are!
I’m actually really keen to know the recipe for these dumplings, because I think I probably just don’t have an appreciation for European dumplings ..seeing as these ones tasted identical to the ones in Prague – I’m just not a fan :(
Golden Roasted Young Duck $25.90
Based on the old traditional Czech recipe, served with red cabbage, sauerkraut, bread & potato dumplings and gravy
Po staročesku pečená kachna podávaná s čereným a bílým zelím, houskovým a bramborovým knedlikem a přírodni šťávou
Came with a generous portion of red cabbage and sauerkraut, and enough sides for you to have more than just a taste of traditional Czech. The duck was crispy, greaseless, and had a strong, rich flavour.
Having only five days of Czech eating experience under my belt, I daresay that this restaurant is a hidden slice of Europe in Potts Point. Of course, not being Czech and all, I can’t really vouch for the authenticity (although from my own experience and the Eastern European accents of the waiters, I’d definitely say it is!) – but absolutely worth a trip for the cheap beer and good food.
The Winter early bird two course set menu is a great deal in itself – seeing as it’s $25 per head and some of the mains anyway are already more than $25.
And if that isn’t enough to win you over ….who can say no to the half-price $12.95 pork knuckle (RRP $25.90) on Wednesdays ? – I got massive diner’s envy staring at another patron’s order, which was a huge, juicy, tender, succulent pork knuckle …..
Anyone free on Wednesdays? ;)
Prague Beer Restaurant – visited 14/09/2011
42 Kellett Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9368 0898