With a reservation at this hotel made beforehand, I just needed to re-confirm it and thus had the concierge in the hotel call the restaurant. One draw to the restaurant was its location in the top of the Dancing House by famed architect Frank Gehry. For a start, the restaurant is located to walking distance of around 10 minutes walk, passing Charles Square in Prague, to reach the striking building just across the Jirásek Bridge. A separate lobby with a first floor brasserie allows a private lift that brings us up to the top floor. Once we reached the top, we were brought to our table by the window in the circular portion of the building. There were already a couple of diners in the restaurant but otherwise, it doesn’t seem to be a difficult place to get reservations at.
Once seated, we were presented with menus and given some recommendations and told of what the restaurant does not have in stock that day. Next, the sommelier came and gave us recommendations based on what we liked. As we aren’t avid wine connoiseurs, just a sweet aperitif is good enough for our palate. For the menu, the restaurant offers a tasting menu for dinner which my Dad and myself ordered while my Mum just wanted a starter and a main course.
After ordering our dishes, the waiter came back to serve every one a platter of amuse bouche which was a nice morsel of seared tuna with paprika oil and pickled cucumber. The slightly sour taste and the spiciness of the paprika works well in whetting an appetite. Great start to the meal!
Next dish was the soup which my Dad and I partaked upon. Unlike most soups which are hot, this one was cold. (Guess it saves time in the need to re-heat) Though the half-boiled egg was warm and gives a nice exquisite touch to the whole dish. Presentation was also superb with the egg in foil shown before the waiter pours the cold soup of asparagus into the bowl. The soup was sweet and works well with the half boiled egg which was cooked to perfection, just the way I like my eggs done for breakfast!
For appetizers, I ordered for my Mum crab cakes with peas while my Dad and I got foie gras terrine. The foie gras terrine was not that great since it gets too filling after having it with the toasted brioche. Moreover there lacks some sort of sweet taste to overcome the overpowering taste of the foie gras. Perhaps it is also because I usually prefer foie gras seared and served with a slice of caramelized apple or pineapple. The crab cakes though was special enough to merit some attention. Unlike most crab cakes which are cooked and made into a starchy cake, this one was a compressed morsel of fresh cold crab meat served on a pea gelatinous gravy. The peas worked very well on reducing the saltiness of the crab and adds a certain freshness to the seafood taste of crab.
The set dinner that my Dad and I ordered came with 2 main courses, one a dish of fish, another a dish of meat. The first main course, a fillet of sturgeon served with bell peppers came along with my Mum’s order which was a platter of roasted monkfish served with artichokes. Both fish dishes were good but not spectacular. I liked the meat of the monkfish better for its chewy texture, and it was also one of the few instances where I do accept artichokes on the side. Perhaps the sweetness of the ham jus made it better.
There was a slight transition between the 2 main courses and the main course. I took this opportunity to sneak out to the terrace of the restaurant which I guessed was a smoking area, though it also provides a great view of Prague at night. After a few shots, I went back to the seat, and found that they have served the second main course. The second main course was definitely more enjoyable, even when I have always liked seafood dishes. The suckling pig was tender and juicy while the shallots gave an added crispiness to the skin of the suckling pig. Definitely the better of the 2 main courses. It just was a pity I was a bit full after the first main platter.
For desserts, those who ordered sets gets 2 portions as well, one of which was Chef’s choice of cheese (Goat Cheese in this instance) served with Kumquat and Salad Vegetables. I took a small bite of the goat cheese and thought I might not like cheese forever again… Let’s just say I totally am not a big cheese fan, and neither is my Dad. The waiter was very understanding on perhaps our distaste for cheese. My mum was offered muscat grapes which I would take any day over goat cheese. The accompanying kumquat marmalade and salad vegetables was great to clean the palate after the flavour of the cheese. The last portion of the meal was another unique but not at all appetizing green pea ice-cream. The cocoa and almond streusel that went with it was not bad though.
Like many dining experiences, there were some hits and misses. The service and ambience in the restaurant was amazing and provided a nice view. Diners shouldn’t miss the outdoor roof terrace which is a staircase climb away from the entrance. One interesting thing on the menu was the chef’s use of peas and other greens to make food like ice-cream and as sides for crab cakes and cold soup. There was definitely great innovation in the dishes! The only disappointment was in the foie gras and the dessert which would otherwise make this place a worthy dining venue! That said, I am not sure what the availability of the restaurant would be if it is just for drinks. I am sure the rooftop patio will be a great venue for cocktails but do a raincheck in Prague before heading down, since it was raining the night I was there.