Back again in Stare Mesto and these streets are so familiar to me that I don't need a map to guide myself around these winding cobbled streets. My spider-like senses will be enough to help me log all the interesting places that you can see below. It is nice to see that a lot of the old places that I used to visit in the past are still there, even the place where I celebrated my wedding reception back in 2003, also some of the more magical places that had the power to draw you into their clutches like the Budvar bar, Lavka and the Al Capone's cocktail bar. Too many mornings I would find myself at the Gyros take away on Spalena eating a very suspicious Doner kebab which either helped or hindered my recovery later on.
The area itself stretches from the bottom of Vaclavske Namesti towards the river down Narodni Trida and as far as Kaprova next to the metro Staromestska, so it is no surprise that the large majority of businesses are focused on the tourist trade. I took in total near 400 photos and that was just in this second part of Stare Mesto and as it turned out we were not able to choose 10 of each but instead we just managed to narrow them down to a shortlist of 20 for each category so that shows how difficult it is deciding on what to include.
The Saturday morning that I decided to go and take photos was very cold -8°C to be precise and armed with my Samsung Galaxy S2 and my Samsung NV10 compact camera I headed off at 7.30am to take a lot of photos but after about one and a half hours both the phone and the camera's batteries were not able to cope with the extreme temperatures and to be honest nor was I. But not to be defeated, the following day I went out again and finished off the area which in total took around 3 hours to complete and on the cobbles, not the easiest of pilgrimages to wander.
Stare Mesto is a great place to wander and we have included a lot of photos of less seen sights that might encourage some of you to from time to time just go off tangent a little and discover some new and interesting places because there are a lot of them hidden down the myriad of streets in this area and a few jewels to be discovered, so don't get stuck in the same old Friday night routine and be adventurous and find somewhere new like my new favourite place The Hemingway bar on Karoliny Svetle and Prazsky Most U Valsu, which have been given an honoury mention in this week's blog.
Finally we managed to get out of the flat and our location was Platina which is the main restaurant at the Hotel Leonardo on Karoliny Svetle. The cuisine is primarily Czech and Italian and after reading the menu we were quite excited by the dishes and couldn't wait to get stuck in. As with most weeks we went along with young Sammy in Tow and Anna was very happy with the high chair, it was large and very comfortable. The restaurant decor was very rustic and elegant with a nice warm welcoming character as were the restaurant staff on our entrance. We had made a reservation so they knew exactly who we were, no surprises there I guess seeing as we were the first to arrive and maybe the sight of the push chair gave us away a bit.
We were greeted and seated and given menus and we enjoyed perusing the many choices of Czech traditional dishes, Italian and international offers as well. The mention of homemade pasta on the menu automatically gave us our first main course option and of course I would normally go for lamb whenever I see it on a menu but I decided to go for the fish that was on offer, it is the obvious choice if you really want to test the quality of the food.
We waited a little bit longer than is normal for the starters to come, but not so long that we thought about where is our food but it was enough time to have a good look around the restaurant and hotel. They have a very nice central terrace/garden area with a fountain, where you can sit and have a drink and something to eat in the spring to autumn season and also Sammy's favourite space was a small encased strip of lawn which kept him occupied between the courses and until the time that we went home.
The starters came and I had the salmon tartar with beetroot, which had a hint of star anise. On its own the beetroot carpaccio was quite powerful but with the salmon it worked very well I have to say. Anna had the variety of starters which was foie gras, though it was a pate and not the slices of the liver as we had thought it might be, grilled shrimps and a goats cheese roulade served with a redcurrant reduction was my thought but Anna was convinced that it was pomegranate, though I would be very surprised if it was but the chef is very adventurous so I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Both of the starters disappeared fairly quickly which is a good sign. I had a little taste of each of Anna's and the combinations for each dishes worked well together and were nicely set out.
The mains came after a nice break and Sammy enjoyed the space to run around the lawn and the fountain in the terrace/garden and also from 6.00pm dancing to the music of the the band who started playing, (only on Fridays though) when I say band I mean a Bass guitar and Grand piano. Anna had the homemade ravioli with Italian cheese and fried herbs with a light cream sauce and a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan. She really enjoyed it and the portion size was just right. I had a little taste and it was a nice combination of flavours and they worked well together. I had the Red Mullet with roasted white asparagus and vegetable couscous with a beurre blanc sauce and it was a little disappointing to be honest. The structure of the Mullet was not as firm and it should look and I think a little bit past its best to be fair but the combination of the asparagus, couscous and sauce worked well together and it was beautifully presented, and I polished it off with very little encouragement so I enjoyed it but as with the fish dishes in most of the places that I have visited, you beg to think about why restaurants put it on market menu where it doesn't get pushed as much as say on the daily menu. If it is not sold on the Day then they should re-invent it on the daily menu and not freeze or keep it too long before serving it.
After the mains we had a coffee and reflected on the meal and we both agreed wholeheartedly that the location, decor, staff and food were all good value for money and we would definitely go there again, and Sammy was also in agreement but about the fountain, floor lights and the strip of lawn and he didn't want to leave. You could hear him as far as the castle expressing his opinion.
Kabul - Afghan
Guga - Georgian
Golden Tikka - Indian
La Finestra - Italian
At the Black Star
U Tri Ruzi - restaurant & brewery
U Modre Kachnicky II
Cafes & Bars
Tingl Tangl - gay, drag queen shows
Karolíny Svetlé 12
Prazsky Most u Valsu
Divadlo Na Zabradli
Al Capone's Cocktail Bar
Papas bar & lounge
Betlémské námestí 2
Caffrey's Irish Bar
Places of interest
Laboratorio - cooking school
Grandpapir - paper shop
Black Light Theatres:
National Black Light Theatre
Nas grunt - farmer's products
Jan Paukert - delicatessen
Pecka Modelar - models
Galerie Tinta - gallery of contemporary art
Avenue - beauty salon
Radek Bubrle - music instruments
Culinaria - specialty food shop
Manufactura - cosmetics