Miss K tries a taster menu at the "Fish Market", an upscale Old Town seafood restaurant
One of the more dubious compliments I have yet received about my blog (from my boss, incidentally), was that he reads it in order to know where not to go. True, I do tend to frequent the mid- to lower end of the Prague restaurant scene -- not because I am particularly impoverished, you understand, but because I tend to prefer casual dining over formal, except on particularly special occasions.
Still, I can do posh along with the best of them -- I just prefer to do so when a) someone else is paying or b) I can somehow wangle a major chunk off the bill. Which is why, when I saw a 50% off voucher for a four-course tasting menu (including a glass of sekt and after-dinner coffee) at upmarket fish restaurant Rybí trh (a.k.a. the Fish Market), I was immediately reeled in. After all, that's not at all bad for just 395 CZK...
And so it was that a night or so later, I took myself off for a slap-up fish supper -- Mr. K wasn't in town, so I figured I might as well spoil myself if no-one else was going to... :-)
Rybí trh being a seafood restaurant, the interior is quite nautical in nature, with soft blue furnishings, pirate galleons in the window and colourful aquariums lining the walls.
Am I alone in finding aquariums and their various inhabitants endlessly fascinating? Just swimming about at whim all day and dropping all your emotional baggage every three seconds or so -- not a bad life really, all things considered. But anyway I digress -- back to actually eating fish and not envying them here...
My voucher was duly accepted (much to my relief after the recent Susharna debacle) and within a minute a nice glass of chilled sekt was brought to my table. Hmm, I could definitely get used to this... :-)
After a minute a two, a basket of fresh white and brown bread with chilli oil and garlic butter was brought to the table. I tried to hold off on these so as not to spoil my appetite for impending feast, but that chilli oil was definitely very more-ish...
My voucher being for a non-specified tasting menu, I was keen to see what fishy delights Rybí trh would bring for me over the course of the evening.
In the event, a free amuse-bouche of parsley mousse with salmon was the first dish out of the kitchen.
This was very delicate and smooth, with a welcome bit of bite added by the dash of radish on top.
Next up was my starter of smoked salmon, tuna and halibut mix.
This came presented in quite minimalist fashion, with small portions of dressed watercress and grated red onion on the side. I absolutely love smoked fish, so was more than happy with course number one here, if not perhaps the unwelcome mouthful of raw onion (my one real food phobia), which I'd initially mistook for shredded red apple.
Course number two was a reasonably sized bowl of fragrant mussel soup.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it until I was already halfway through -- it had been a lot frothier when initially brought to the table. I really liked the rich, buttery taste of the soup, with its strong infusion of dill, shellfish and (if I'm not mistaken) also aniseed. At the bottom I found some pieces of diced carrot and potato, which still retained a pleasantly crunchy bite.
At this point, I ordered a 0.5-liter glass of Chablis at an eye-wateringly expensive 198 CZK. They did have a slightly less extortionate option of Moravian white at 145 CZK, but I didn't want to look cheap...
I wish I could say it was worth it, but quite frankly, it was just a very ordinary white. Thank God I'd stopped off for a svařak on Old Town Square on the way... :-)
Soon after, the main course arrived -- a fillet of sea bass with rice, topped with a frothy cream sauce.
I was pleased they'd kept it simple here -- the outside of sea bass being only slightly braised and the flesh feather-light, with the sauce delicate enough to basically just let the fish just speak for itself. I for one was pretty happy with this simple but delicious offering.
By now I was getting decidedly full, but still somehow managed to find a corner for dessert -- in this case, homemade dumplings with ice cream and summer fruits.
These weren't like traditional Czech ovocné knedlíky, but more of an English sticky toffee pudding in miniature dumpling form, with a dash of fresh mint and dark chocolate crown. There was also a raspberry and blueberry or two lurking underneath the ice cream here.
I absolutely loved this, and -- as much as I enjoyed the fish starters and main -- would still venture to say that dessert was the real highlight of my Rybí trh sojourn.
Rounding off the meal with a cup of coffee which I forgot to photograph, I settled my bill for the wine with my polite but restrained waiter -- I imagine he was probably wondering what this random blonde girl was doing rolling up by herself, photographing her various courses, and scribbling her thoughts manically on the back of an envelope (having somehow misplaced my normally ever-on-hand blogger's notebook).
So, overall a pleasant evening at Rybí trh, with some very competently executed -- if, overall, not particularly inspired -- fish courses and an excellent dessert.
Certainly the quality of the cuisine and freshness of the seafood on offer stand out against the largely overpriced, mediocre tourist traps that line Old Town Square. However, for me as a Prague inhabitant, the prices are too prohibitive to really warrant a second visit -- if I'm going to splurge on an expensive meal out, I'd rather it be at SaSaZu, where the food actually blows away rather than just politely impressing.
At otherwise non-discount prices, for me Rybí trh just did not make enough of a splash.
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