Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last day in Prague

For the final supper I decided on chicken and pea risotto, I was actually overwhelmed with Czech food and couldn't handle any more. The risotto was really good, creamy and full of flavour. My boyfriend ordered pork with dumplings which was very tasty. I loved the crispy fried onions on top. 

Chicken risotto
Pork with dumplings

Dine in for two

Four season's pizza with parma harm, pepperoni, artichoke and mushrooms.



Pretty pizza box

More Czech food

There are so many places to try Czech food and as we were only here for 2 days I wanted to eat as much of it as I could. We found a small pub off one of the streets from Old Town which looked well priced and inviting. I had a set deal where I had soup, soft drink and a main for around £6. One thing I wanted to try before I left was goulash as it was a traditional Czech meal and I had it with these potato dumplings, which were so filling. I do like Czech food, but it can be too heavy for me as a meal. 

Potato soup
Pork steak with potato wedges
Beef goulash with potato dumplings

U kocku

This is by far the worst restaurant I have ever been to. The service was terrible and the food was so over priced, so I'm not even going to spend much time writing about this. The menu was a mess, it had so many choices from Czech, Italian, Greek and Eastern European food. But was I despised the most was the behaviour of the main waiter. 

When we paid the bill, we noticed a 10% service charge was added and paid it. We then waited for our change and I could see the waiter looking at our table, he avoided us for about 15 minutes and then came slowly over with our money. As we stood up and took the change he then said "Aren't you going to leave us tip?" I looked at him and pointed to the receipt and told him that a service charge had already been added and he shook his head and said it was tax. I knew that instance he was lying and trying to swindle us, I've been in Asia where there are plenty of scams to rip off tourists and I wasn't going to fall for this. I disagreed with him and told him we had paid the service charge and he threw us a disgusting look and tutted at us. I had never experienced rude behaviour like that before.

From sitting in the restaurant earlier I noticed that different waiters served at different tables but it was always this one man who was providing the bill, so I assume he made a habit of exploiting tourists. Disappointing.

Grilled aubergine with tzatziki
Chicken on skewer

U Balouna

My boyfriend and I spontaneously bought a city holiday package to Prague for the weekend. We both wanted to see the famous Christmas markets and get away from London for a few days, so took advantage of the British Airways sale.

We arrived at Prague in the afternoon, tired from a 0715 flight so didn't want to spend too long looking for somewhere to eat. We walked around Mustek and found a Czech pub called U Balouna, which was well hidden off the streets. There was only a large sign advertising "Original Czech Restaurant" and pointing down a long corridor. As we followed the sign the restaurant was downstairs at the back of the building, my initial thoughts was that we should make a swift exit. However when we actually walked down into the restaurant it was busy with Czech people and had a really warm atmosphere.

For our mains we ordered pork knee roasted in dark beer with roasted potatoes and lamb knee with mashed potato. The food was quite heavy altogether and the lamb was overcooked, which made the lamb stick to the bone. Presentation however was spot on and I loved the vibe in the restaurant, it had some funky up beat jolly music.

Lamb knee with spinach and mashed potato
Pork knee with potato
Entrance to the restaurant

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giraffe

I met up with friends after work and we headed to Spitalfield markets where we ate dinner at Giraffe. I find Giraffe is always a safe option when with a group of friends as it has a large selection of food picked from different cuisines and the price isn't too expensive.

First we ordered cocktails as it was before 7pm so Bar Buddies was in motion (this is where selected drinks are half price). For starters we shared the Nachos Nirvana with chorizo, which was topped with the usual nacho toppings. The chorizo was good and the nachos came out warm, which was surprising although it didn't taste as nice when it went cold.

For my main I chose something off the Christmas Special menu: Goat's cheese, roasted red pepper and zucchini lasagne, which sounded fantastic but ended up being a massive disappointment. It was so dry, as if it had been over baked and the vegetables were flavourless and stringy. It was not good and to make it worse they overcharged me for the dish, an extra £3. The menu stated £9.95 but on the receipt it was £12.95, the manager was very good and immediately refunded me the money.

The evening I had at Giraffe was great, but this was mainly down to my friends. The food starter was good but the main was a let down, such as shame as my experiences at Giraffe are usually good.

Nachos with chorizo
Baby rack of ribs, chicken kiev and nasty lasagne
Goat's cheese, roasted red pepper and zucchini lasagne
Rating: 6.25
Service: 8/10
Presentation: 7/10
Taste: 4/10
Quality: 6/10
Website: http://www.giraffe.net/classic

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Itadakimasu!

This is my attempt at making chicken katsu curry and vegetable okonomiyaki. The katsu curry turned out better than I had expected, although I wish I could have had more sauce. I ended up reducing the sauce for a longer period of time as it wasn't thickening. This recipe was taken from the Independent, which was very simple and could easily be replicated using normal household ingredients. 

My okonomiyaki on the other hand was wasn't up to the same standard as the katsu curry, it was too thick for my liking, which meant it had to be cooked for longer. I suppose this is what cooking is all about, experimenting and improving each time. I will definitely try to improve my okonomiyaki as its just batter and a handful of vegetables.


Chicken katsu curry
Vegetable okonomiyaki

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chiquito

I have eaten here a few times and found it quite average but today when I visited with a friend I found that they had changed their menu and for the better. Food is presented in better fashion and there is now an abundance of choice in the new menu.

To start my friend and I shared the Fully Loaded Nachos, which was piled high with baked nachos with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole and salsa. This was so addictive, the nachos were so crunchy and had a generous helping of toppings.

For the mains I had the baked enchiladas, filled with BBQ pulled pork then topped with Chiquito's signature tomato sauce, melted cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. From what I remember last time I came here, the presentation of the food has improved a lot. It's amazing what a circular dish can do to food, rather than being slumped on a plate. The enchiladas were tasty and I really enjoyed the pulled pork, which is something I don't usually have. My friend chose the pulled pork fajitas served on a hot plate, this smelt amazing. 

Overall I had a good dining experience, the waiter was attentive and the food was good and for a reasonable price for central London.


Rating: 7.5
Service: 8/10
Presentation: 8/10
Taste: 7/10
Quality: 7/10
Website: http://www.chiquito.co.uk/site/