La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, Prague
Last September I was in Prague for a stag party. Though I use the term “party” in the loosest sense as it consisted of the groom to be, the best man and myself. Being a trio of mature (ish) men we thought that we would buck the trend and have a Michelin starred meal… before we got terribly drunk and shot automatic weapons with a stinking hangover.
I knew nothing about Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise, a smart 40 seat spare corner building in Prague’s Old Town. They only do tasting menus, 6 or 11 courses with the option of a wine to pair. Of course we went the full 11 with wine.
Honestly, I was a bit tipsy when we started but believe things went a bit like this…
We started off with an amuse-bouche: I loved the fatty/creamy/texture combo of the Fried Chicken Skin, Chicken Liver Pate with Lokus Sweet Wine Jelly. Never having tasted anything like Black Bean & Black Truffle Croquette before I was suitably wowed by their rich earthiness which complemented each other wonderfully. The Grilled Onion, Sheep Yoghurt with Thyme & Onion Chips was a perfect palate cleanser and delicious foil to the others.
The courses that followed were…
1. Trebon Carp & Sour Milk. A fascinating, delicious & beautifully textured dish of shaved frozen local carp, poppy seeds & sour milk semi freddo. It was served with an excellent Matthias Czech Sekt (Love saying that!) by Proqin Ltd. It was a pairing made in heaven as the crunchy textures played off the spitz of the fizz. A real winner!
2. Russian Sturgeon Caviar & Prague Ham. A bit foggy on this one. Do recall the sweet smoky ham set against the sharp saline intensity of the caviar. The yellow stuff was a mayo… I think. Loved the texture of the spoon as well. Was paired with a very good Riesling In der Wand by Pichler-Krutzler. The combo I don’t think wowed me.
3. Farm Chicken, Sweet Corn & Radish. This was one of the most memorable pieces of poultry that I have ever eaten. Crispy skin, the meat pink shiny & pale was so moist that I needed a towel. The foil of pillow soft sweet corn puree set against the sharp crunch of the radish & cauliflower was supremely judged, a dish of real skill. The wine was local Ryzlink Vlašsky (Welschriesling) 2010 by Mikrosvin Mikulov which did the job just fine.
4. This Langoustine, Oyster & Amaranth certainly looked impressive served atop it’s warm cobble stone. But for me it lacked execution and the langoustine itself came off 2nd best. We were served a homemade lemonade to break up things up booze wise which was a nice change.
5. Local Třeboň Catfish, Moravian Sparkling Wine Sauce & Cabbage was sublime. Texture as well as flavour played off each other wonderfully. The gentle crunch of cabbage, meaty tenderness of the catfish & all held together with the acidity of the Sparkiling wine sauce. Wine was an accomplished Veltlinske Zelené aka Grüner Veltliner by Kořínek.
6. Foie Gras & Grape juice Jelly. Chef returned to his frozen grating method that worked so well with the opening dish of carp and translated beautifully with the foie gras melting in your mouth supported by the sweet acidity of the grape jelly. Never experienced foie gras like this before. A highly intelligent dish. Wine, an excellent Barriques Oubliées, Muscat de Frontignan 1995 which matched perfectly.
We had just past the mid point of the 11 courses and I was really starting to feel all that wine not to mentioned several beers before dinner. But backing out now was not an option…
7. Beef Tenderloin & Dill Sauce was so less than a revelation. Another combination that absolutely sent my palate into rapture. Even a year on I can still taste that sous vide tender beef (cuddled to death I’m sure) and robed in rich slightly aniseed dill sauce. We stayed local with a decent oaked Sauvignon Blanc by František Mádl.
8. Mnetěš Pigeon, Lokus Wine, Pumpkin was perfectly nice dish. I don’t recall it changing my life in anyway and having to follow that beef was always going to be tough. I probably have served the pigeon before the beef. But hey it ain’t my restaurant. The wine was an superb Barolo Sori Ginestra 2005 which paired well.
9. Beef Tongue, Yellow Pea Puree, Mustard was another tasty dish but it didn’t stay with me. To be fair I haven’t eaten much beef tongue. Recall the sauce being rather special, rich and textured. The wine was another Czech offering from Stapleton & Springer Cuvee Rouci which honestly I don’t think I was wild about. But I may have hit the wall.
We were nearly the end, my energy was waning but just two more dishes to go.
10. Wagyu Kobe Style Beef, Eggplant, Ponzu Sauce would normally have caused much more of a stir around around the table were it not right at the end of a long boozy meal and and even longer boozier day. The execution was faultless, a balanced and delicious dish. Wine was a Hess Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 that didn’t wow nor offend.
11. For dessert we had a couple choices and I opted for the unpronounceable Olomoucké Tvarůžky. Tvaruzky is a mature cheese made of skim milk which has been produced in the region for hundreds of years. Soft & sticky in texture it had a salty, spicy flavour. The biggest reason that I ordered it though was because it came with a wheat beer from cult Czech brewer Matuška. It did not disappoint and was a great match for the cheese. My pals went for the Chocolate Sorbet, Raspberries & Mint which looked melted to me. But perhaps that was the look they were after…
All things considered in terms of the amount to drink and the marathon nature of the meal I was quite impressed. There were some divine dishes, flavours that have stuck with me over a year on without a single note.
So if you are going to Prague and want to treat yourself then do book a table at Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise. If you are on a budget though I can heartily recommend Lokal next door. It’s a beautiful beer hall serving all manner of traditional Czech food and is owned by the same group Ambiente.