110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Tel. +420 296 630 914
Food type: Modern European
Website: Zlata Praha
Dining at Zlata Praha was a bit of a last minute decision. I had it on my shortlist of restaurants but was not sure if, after a day of travelling I would be in the mood to have a big meal. Plus I had other big meals lined up for the days to come. However, a dining offer of 10% off the dining bill courtesy of my IC Ambassador status was too hard to resist and after checking the restaurant we asked our concierge to books us a table for dinner.
Zlata Praha is the flagship restaurant of the Intercontinental Hotel in Prague and is located at the 9th (top) floor. The dining room is classically decorated with an option for outside dining or drinks if the weather permits. The tables around the room are carefully positioned to provide the diner unparalleled views of Prague Old Town. I doubt that there are other dining rooms in Prague with views as breathtaking as the one you will find here.
The head chef here is Pavel Buchwaldek who worked in England, with Pierre Koffmann at the Berkeley and briefly with René Redzepi when Noma did a pop-up at Claridges in London. More recently he was at Michelin starred Alcron (more to follow) with Roman Paulus in Prague before taking over as head chef here at the Intercontinental.
There are two menus available at dinner – a traditional 3 course a la carte menu (also referred to as bestsellers menu) and a “degustation” menu. Except it isn’t a degustation menu as we know it in England. Instead, you are given a list of dishes divided by categories such as cold appetisers, hot appetisers, soups, main courses and desserts to allow you to build your own tasting menu from anything between 2 to 6 courses. Oh and you can choose from the a la carte menu too. Wait a minute! Isn’t ordering 3 courses from a list of dishes pretty much ordering a la carte? Each diner does not have to order the same dishes that his dining companion has ordered. It gives the diner a lot of flexibility but I can only imagine the chaos in the kitchen if a table of 4 sit down and order 6 different courses!
The cooking here can best be described as modern European with an eclectic mix of flavours from the surrounding country. Take for example the signature starter here of marinated salmon with dill and cucumber. The flavours here are clearly inspired by the Nordic dish, Gravlax – the salmon here is cured with salt and sugar before being rolled into a cylinder and paired with a dill oil and some compressed cucumbers. A little horseradish cream adds a little warmth to this dish which is finished off with some crispy salmon skin for texture.
A dish which speaks a bit more of his time in England is perhaps black pudding with deep fried egg yolk and mash – this is a hearty and rich dish evoking memories of a Sunday fry-up. A few podded broad beans are added, no doubt to give the dish a bit of freshness.
My favourite dish of the evening was a beef consommé with braised beef which was probably a take on the classic Viennese beef soup. The consommé was crystal clear with good meaty flavour and a few spring vegetables added some freshness to the dish.
Not all dishes were successful however. For example a dessert of crème brûlée and coffee millefeuille was a bit of style over substance. The crème brûlée is brought to the table before it is set alight to create a bit of theatre. However, while I understand the chef’s intentions here, unfortunately the flaming did very little in terms of actually caramelising the sugar topping and when the flames burned out, all you were left with was a bowl of set custard with granulated sugar on top. On the side was a coffee millefeuille which had very little in terms of coffee flavour.
There is much to love about Zlata Praha – a great view, fair prices, excellent service and barring one or two slips, very solid cooking. If you are in Prague and looking for a place with a view to dine at, then you could do worse than coming here.