If you're looking for somewhere to eat in Prague, you'll find no shortage of fine establishments in the centre, but finding something unique can be difficult. The Buddha-Bar at Jakubská 649/8 is unique. It's fine dining in Prague with a modern and diverse fusion menu. The Buddha-Bar is located in the heart of Prague's historic Old Town.
As you enter the Buddha-Bar and decend the stairs to the main dining room, you are enveloped by the dimly lit elegance. As your eyes adjust, the decorative details begin to come into focus. The interior is a grand space with the refined charm of another era. The black and red colour scheme and the tassels on the lamps offer subtle hints at an Asian motif but when you enter the dining room and see a four meter high statue of a sitting Buddha, surrounded by a thousand lotus flowers, clearly, they are done hinting.
The menu does more than hint at Asian cuisine as well. They have a very good sushi menu, a few touches of China and India and a nice selection of Thai. All falling into what the Buddha-Bar refers to as "Pacific Rim cuisine" and they subtly combine it with what they refer to as "the zest of the west". The Buddha-Bar's western zest comes in the form of Beef Tenderloin, Duck Breast with Truffle sauce or the Buddha-Bar Chicken Salad.
I was delighted with the options but I was having a little trouble deciding. Fortunately, my server was patient, friendly and made no effort to rush me. Ultimately she suggested that I go with a tasting menu called "Chef Experience". It's a five course meal featuring various items from the menu. I started off with Sea Bass Tar Tar with Lemon Grass. It was beautifuly prepared and presented and went incredibly well with the Austrian Riesling, also recommended by my server. Next was a tray containing variations of Duck Foie Gras. I can't honestly say that I'm a foie gras enthusiast but I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. Each variation was different in taste, texture and presentation. The third course was Thai style red curry with shrimp and vegetables. I'm a sucker for anything curry but I was most impressed by how well this drastically different taste fits so well into the evening's mosaic of flavour. The Beef Tenderloin with Pepper Sauce was next and it was predictably exquisite.
Taking time between courses to peruse the crowd, I saw tourists and out of towners who were either drawn here by the Buddha-Bar's great revues or just got tiered of Goulash and beer, (note to reader, Goulash and beer are great in Prague but you can get too much of a good thing). There was a healthy crowd of local expats and Czechs, whose discerning tastes and wariness of tourist traps generally keep them away from the Old Town but they are, no doubt, drawn here by the Buddha-Bar's stellar reputation in Prague. It is especially effective for impressing visiting family members or first dates.
Finally the dessert was served. Actually to say it was "served" is a bit of an understatement. It was Chocolate Passion Fruit with Coconut prepared at the table. A gentleman approached our table, wheeling a cart with glass bowls, dry ice and some other ingredients. He created the dish in front of us with a presentation that was as much winning science fair entry as culinary but as you might expect, the resulting dessert was tremendous.
As I finished my coffee I realized I'd been there for two hours but I felt like I'd just walked through the door. I wanted to linger at the table with an after dinner cocktail but decided to go upstairs to the bar instead. It was Friday so the bar was hopping but I got the impression you might find it hopping any night of the week. The Buddha-Bar has an extensive wine and cocktail list, the kind of selection you would expect from an establishment of this caliber. Their variety of Rum is worthy of note but it's not uncommon to have a good selection of Rum in Prague bars. It was their list of Whiskeys that really caught my eye. I counted 16 different Whiskeys from Scotland alone. I've been to "Whiskey Bars" in Prague that can't boast that kind of selection.
The Buddha-Bar is a true Prague experience. Delicious food in an atmosphere that is relaxed but still stylish and dignified. The cover page of their menu lays out their manifesto and sums it up nicely, The Buddha-Bar offers you an "exciting and contemporary update to nouvelle cuisine to delight the taste buds and the eyes".
|BUDDHA-BAR PRAGUE |
Jakubská 8, Prague 1
Tuesday - Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.
TEL.: +420 221 776 400