Resto Cafe Patio
Visiting relatives treat Miss Knedlíkova to a meal at Le Patio's upper mid-range eatery
This last week I had relatives visiting from the UK, which in my case invariably entails all of the following three things: an umpteenth trip up to the Castle, the inevitable ill-timed onset of rain all weekend, and (on the upside) an enjoyable dinner or two out at restaurants slightly nicer than I would usually frequent -- all, of course, at visiting familial expense.
And so it was that on the first evening of their trip, I chivalrously led a visiting Aunty, Uncle and Mummy K from their hotel in the Old Town over to Resto Cafe Patio, an upper mid-range restaurant near Národní třída which -- without a hint of self-interest, of course -- I had been saving for ages for just such a "special occasion".
Décor here is eclectic to say the least, basically consisting of lots of hanging lanterns, soft furnishings from their adjoining Le Patio Lifestyle design shop and -- for reasons unexplained -- a great big replica boat complete with faux pirate-style rope-bridge.
That we would start off with wine (and plenty of it) was already a given -- a deeply-held love for this most civilized of intoxicants is hard-wired into the DNA on both sides of the family. That over the whole course of the five-day visit, the thought of sampling any of the Czech Republic's world-renowned pivo didn't once cross our minds is just testament to the Knedlík family's traditionally oenophilic bent.
As the man of the table, Uncle Knedlík ordered a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio at 510 CZK.
This went down very nicely, thank you very much, and, needless to say, before long a second bottle of the same duly followed.
Following traditional family practice of skipping starters in favor of dessert, we proceeded on this occasion straight to the mains.
True to form, Mummy K went for roast herb marinated pork tenderloin with caramel sauce and potato purée at 260 CZK.
I had a bite and found this surprisingly tasty. Pork is one of my mum's favourites, but generally not one of mine; however, this version was tender to the point of pinkness in the center, and was perfectly matched by the creamy mashed potato and deliciously thick, sweet, caramelized sauce. Maminka duly agreed.
Auntie K opted for the grilled corn-fed chicken breast wrapped in pancetta with wine-cream sauce with mushrooms and potato purée at 245 CZK.
This was pretty comparable in terms of both quantity and quality to the pork dish, with perfectly cooked slices of tender chicken thigh presented on top of a bed of mash and creamy mushroom sauce. Tatička pronounced herself more than happy with the dish, though did comment that she thought there was too much potato in proportion to the meat. Mother K had voiced no such concerns as to her (pretty much identical) portion size, however.
Uncle K does like his pasta, so opted for the spaghetti with chili, basil and prawn off Le Patio's short Specials list.
I had also been tempted to go for this, and was privately rather glad when it came that I hadn't -- I would definitely have felt shortchanged here, especially in comparison with some of the evening's other dishes. The rather small portion of undressed spaghetti looked bland and dried-out, as if it had been sitting out while the other meals were being prepared. The prawns likewise looked very ordinary -- I was expecting a little more elaborate a dish from an otherwise stylish place like Le Patio. Uncle K, who easily polished off the dish in just a few quick bites, voiced no such complaints, however, and in the end any deficiencies in terms of portion size were quickly addressed via his subsequent consumption of approximately half my already-replete aunt's dinner in its wake -- it's an ongoing arrangement that suits them both, apparently.
As for me, I immediately zeroed in on the option of yellow fin tuna steak in sesame crust with fresh orange juice-glazed carrot and fried potatoes with sea salt at 320 CZK.
I'd been hankering after a bite of Le Patio's ever-so-slightly seared, near-sashimi-raw-in-the-center tuna ever since I saw a picture of their tuna avocado salad on Brewsta's blog earlier this year, and this version definitely didn’t disappoint. The fish was perfectly fresh and well matched by the glazed carrot and salted potato side vegetables and, in fact, the only criticism I'd make of the dish as a whole is that I didn't detect much in the way of sesame in the crust. Other than that, though, I personally thought this was the absolute winner of the night.
Dessert-wise, yet again we all conformed to usual family food stereotype.
Aunty K can never resist a crème brulée.
On her personal crème brulée scale (based on years of conscientious tasting all around the world), she rated this one a solid "8".
Uncle K, on the other hand, has a penchant for ice-cream.
I'm not a massive ice cream fan (unless it's of the really superior variety, I usually find it the boring option on a menu), but with several generous scoops of chocolate and vanilla topped with cream, fruit, pistachios, almonds and mint, this looked a pretty jazzed-up rendition. Uncle K was more than happy, but that said, when it comes to ice cream, he is admittedly pretty easy to please.
My mum likes to pretend that fruit in the context of a dessert still contributes to her government-recommended "five-per-day" quota, so went for the panacotta with cognac and forest fruits.
I tried a bit and found it rather on the bland side, but Mum claimed to like it at any rate.
And as for me, I likewise predictably went for the chocolate option with the chocolate fondant with vanilla crème, orange zest and mint.
This was large, squidgy, warm and -- in a word -- delicious. Also severely guilt-inducing afterwards, of course, but I won't bore you with my personal calorie-control-based hang-ups here.
The cost for each dessert was around the 100-120 CZK mark.
As I was being generously taken out on this occasion, I didn't see the total bill, and out of deference to any reading relatives will pretend here that I couldn't have worked it out from listing pretty much all the individual food and drink items separately already.
So, after four long years of languishing on my restaurant "to do" list, did Resto Cafe Patio in the end live up to expectations?
One disappointing dish aside, well, pretty much yes. Overall, the food was excellent, the service attentive and polite, and the ambience spot-on, with the company in this case making for a happy and memorable meal. I'll definitely keep it in mind for any future special occasion, such as a birthday, romantic dinner-for-two, or family reunion.
And speaking of which, a heartfelt thanks to my own nearest and dearest, who -- much to their credit, it must be said -- took my sudden transformation from previously unassuming daughter/great-niece to new incarnation of frantic food-photographing, note-taking, blog-posting "Miss Knedlíkova" in their stride, and didn't once complain about being roped in as involuntary participants in my culinary blogosphere.
Which is just as well, really, as with the amount of meals out we enjoyed together over the course of the visit, they'll definitely be featuring in the next review or two to come!
Resto Cafe Patio
Phone: (+420) 224 934 375
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