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Monday, 7 January 2013

Chagall's, Prague

It didn't start well. We'd already reserved Chagall's via email. But me and Mrs Bacon are especially fussy about where we want to sit in a restaurant.  We don't like sitting right next to other people so we can overhear their conversations. We hate a large communal table, and once walked out of an empty restaurant in Spain because they wanted us to sit at their choice and not ours. We prefer a private corner table with a view of everything going on.
As we were walking past the previous evening, we thought we'd tell them the seat we wanted in the window and not right next to anyone else. So the following evening we turned up, and told them the seat we'd already booked. "Sorry, that is impossible, Mr Bacon, somebody has already booked it!" The waitress explained. "Yes I know, it was me!" She'd somehow forgotten us from the night before, and English not being her first language, obvious confusion had arisen.
Finally sorted and in our rightful seats, we looked forward to the 8 course Selection Du Chef. I love a taster menu. It means I get to eat the best food, without missing anything out, I eat stuff I'd never order and I get more of it! Service was slow, but we finally got 3 types of very tasty bread, salted butter and some cream cheese.
Nice bread.
Then they did something that irritates the hell out of me. When bringing the water and wine, they then took them away onto a separate table well away from us, only occasionally adding tiny amounts to our half filled glasses. This is supposed to be for our benefit after all, we are the customers. You can just about get away without annoying me with this sort of thing in a Michelin star restaurant where there is plenty of staff to top you up the moment you need. (El Bulli being the most ridiculous, it seemed after every sip we were being topped up - apologies for the 'restaurant name-drop', I couldn't resist it.)
Here, there was just one waiter and one waitress and they didn't top up nearly enough. This isn't a Michelin star restaurant, and it just seems pretentious and pointless. What's wrong with me having the water and wine on the table and pouring my own when I want? At one point, thirsty after the salty butter, we had to beg our waitress to give us more water than about 5mm of water. And give me a big glass of wine, if you're going to take away the bottle I bought!  I'll decide how much I want in the glass!
Amuse bouche. Not a patch on the ones at La Degustation.

After the forgettable amuse bouche, Vichysiosse, smoked eel and autumn leaves first course finally came. It was ok, but it didn't blow me away.  We had one of our best meals the night before, but Mrs Bacon reminded me that this was roughly half the price of La Degustation, so should be judged accordingly.

Then  we got Chicken consommé with fresh vegetables, pretty good and hearty with crunchy veg.
Chicken consommé with fresh vegetables.

It was only when the Homemade gnocchi with truffle and pecorino arrived did I think we were onto some really good eating. You cannot go wrong with these ingredients for me, pity over hyped Manchester restaurant Italia couldn't deliver something remotely this tasty. It was a delicious dish. There was nothing super creative about it, these great ingredients just work together, it's that simple.
Homemade gnocchi with truffle and pecorino.

Mrs Bacon isn't normally a fan of rabbit, so it was a surprise when she enjoyed the next course, Saddle of rabbit, lentils with roasted endive, plum and horseradish sauce. I thought the rabbit was a little dry. But the meat and lentils are a simple combination that worked well together.
Saddle of rabbit, lentils with roasted endive, plum and horseradish sauce.

I preferred the Sea bass, fennel and mussels "Vongole" with wild mushrooms. This was my favourite of the mains, a really lovely dish, the fish delicate and cooked perfectly.
Sea bass, fennel and mussels "Vongole" with wild mushrooms.

Slowly braised beef peeled shoulder, sprouts in a mustard butter, roasted cauliflower was also a winner, on second thoughts this was my favourite main course. I do love sprouts and have decided to eat more of them.
Slowly braised beef peeled shoulder, sprouts in a mustard butter, roasted cauliflower.
Two good French Cheeses followed and then onto dessert of Mille-feuille of chocolate Amedei and blueberries.

Mille-feuille of chocolate Amedei and blueberries.

We'd recently had a good Mille-feuille at Aubaine Manchester, this was messier looking, but was actually a better pudding than last nights only misfire at La Degustation.
Overall we enjoyed the food at Chagall's. It's a solid choice if you can't afford La Degustation as it's roughly half the price, and the taster menu is good value. The food is not as good as it's neighbour, but it's competitively priced accordingly. I would consider it a good medium range restaurant, and so would prefer it if they removed the great disappearing wine and water trick, and maybe got an extra waiter to achieve snappier service. Other than these trivial annoyances, we enjoyed our meal at Chagall's and would heartily recommend it.
Price: £118 for Two taster menus, a bottle of wine and water.
Overall: A solid choice.
Service: Slow but friendly.
Atmosphere: Lovely interior, a bit quiet on our trip.
Food: Good.
Star dish: Slowly braised beef peeled shoulder, sprouts in a mustard butter, roasted cauliflower  

7.5/10


Chagall's
Kozí 916/5  
110 00 Prague 1
www.chagalls.cz

2 comments:

  1. What camera/lense do you have? Anna

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  2. Hi Ana
    I bought a Nikkor 35mm fixed lens from Jessops (who I hear have today gone into liquidation!) for my old Nikon D50 SLR.
    It cost about £160 with £20 cashback.
    I put the photos through Lightroom to lighten them and change the lighting settings which is useful under unnatural lighting conditions.
    Hope this helps!

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