I just love birthdays - and better yet, I love surprises!  Richard surprised me for my birthday in October and whisked me off to Prague for a jam-packed weekend of fun, food, culture and architecture...


I last explored the myriad of Prague's twisted streets back in 1998 - it was truly wonderful going back again and seeing how much has changed, and just how much still remains the same.  Richard and I both agree that the city is much "neater" today as many of the old buildings that were in a terribly poor state of repair have been given a face lift.  But this is not a blog about history and architecture, its about food!  So let me cut to the cake, I mean the chase.

Before you read any further, we need to first set the mood. It's imperative that you click on the following link 
http://codarestaurant.cz/ , turn your speakers up a little and then return to my blog and continue reading...  The culinary climax of our weekend was a fabulously romantic, fine dining experience at one of Prague's top restaurants - Coda, located in the musical themed boutique Hotel Aria. Everything about the evenings affair was charming - from the impeccable service and accomplished pianist, through to the charismatic chef, David Šašek and his gastronomic compositions! 

Our personalised take-home menu's

Now let me set the scene for you: rose petals gracefully scattered on our comfortable table for two, Rosenthal caricature show plates dominate our place settings, in the background the talented pianist is tickling the ivories with familiar tunes, personalised menu's elegantly rolled up and tied with a silk ribbon and even the chic mineral water bottle with it's old fashioned swingtop has a poetic, musical note!

  

As I glanced over the menu, I found myself mouthing the word "WOW" to Richard... It was going to be truly difficult for me to decide what to order, as I suffer from a crippling condition called "food envy"!  I am fortunate that my husband has admirable ordering skills (even though he is a bit of a fussy foodie), and he is always up for sharing his meal - which is of course the prefect way to cure food envy!

Shortly after placing our order, we were served an amuse bouche (translated from French it literally means "to amuse the mouth") of Steak tartare. It was perfectly seasoned and the chillies added a nice little bite!

For my Appetizer, I ordered the "Velvety Foie Gras Terrine with Home-made Apricot Chutney".  The foie gras was amazing - my best description would be smooth, creamy and lush, whilst the chutney was sweet and tangy, it reminded me of home! 


Richard ordered (and shared) the "Butter Poached Half of Lobster served with Garden Vegetable Confit and Tomato Concasse" - one word sums this one up, EXQUISITE! So pleased Richard shared it with me J 

 

Chef David takes immense pride in his culinary creations and produces a work of art on every plate that leaves his pass.  After a suitable break, our next Entrees arrived at the table under silver dome covers - elegance personified!  (I held my breath in anticipation of what awaited us as the domes were lifted in tandem and David proceeded to give a detailed description of his objet d'art.)


Voila!  "Pink Roasted Veal served with Seared Shrimp, Parmigiano & Potato Cake, and Sweet-Pea purée".  Ooh la la...  Tender, delicate and succulent!  



"Baked Juicy Organic Chicken Breast with Truffle Tagliatelle and Foie-Gras Sauce".  This dish was so amazing, I would love to try and recreate it at home.  I also have to admit that this point that this was the first time I have ever tasted fresh truffles. (I am used to the chocolate variety...)  I loved the intense and earthy flavour that the truffles added to this suave and luscious fare.
 
 

If the courses thus far have impressed you, wait until you see what's for dessert - you're going to be blown away!  "Delicately layered White Chocolate Mille-feuille, with cracked black pepper, served with raspberries and raspberry emulsion".  Delicate, delightful and delicious!


 

Richard enjoyed the "Molten Valrhona Chocolate Cake with Liquid Centre, topped with home-made vanilla bean ice-cream and berry coulis"  Dessert certainly ended on a high note...  I took great pleasure assisting him in demolishing this rich, gooey pud!



 
 simply loved the combination of textures and flavours that each dish had to offer and at the end of the evening, I mentioned to Richard that it was all so amazing, I only wish that I could see the kitchen and  just how they created all these amazing courses.  Well, my wish came true (thanks to my dexterous husband) - I had the pleasure of going "behind the scenes" with Chef David to check out his domain.  I met his various assistants (including the sous chef and the chef de partie), we sampled divine Dandelion Sorbet (home-made with Dandelions that get hand-picked by the team of chefs...) and we talked about Ostrich and Bobotie (I still need to email him my recipe - note to self!)

  
 
When next you're in Prague - make sure you add Coda to the top of your list of "places to dine"!
 


 Rosenthal plates ~ http://www.josefblecha.eu/
 
 

The birthday girl & her hot date...
 
 

Old fashioned swingtop bottle