Čestr

 

Cestr - 1Čestr is the abbreviation for one of the most famous livestock breeds in the Country, the Czech Simmental. So, the restaurant could not have any other purpose than showing the best this breed and the autochthonous products the Czech Republic have to offer. The idea of the Ambiente Group was to create a steakhouse where only national products were used and to recover cuts of the animal nearly extinct these days, and of course, the rightful use of the maturation. That idea was so seriously taken that inside the space we find a small butcher’s shop where all the cuts used in the dishes are prepared – almost 30 cuts, and where they rest for 28 to 50 days, depending of the cut and size of the piece.

Cestr - 7But on to the restaurant, located near the National Museum and next to the Venceslau Square, Čestr has the ideal location to a dinner in the center of the New Town. The decoration is dominated by the use of wood, with some influence of Nordic Design, by the open kitchen, the butcher’s, where the big pieces of meat replace, and well, any piece of decoration and of course, by the beer kegs, or wouldn’t we be in Czech Republic.

Cestr - 14Already installed (wide tables, and nicely spaced apart), we are received with the welcoming of the Chef, a sourdough bread with nicely seasoned cottage cheese, while we are presented with the concept and ideology of the restaurant, as well as its cuts and preparations.

Cestr - 3Amuse bouche

Cestr - 4 Čestr Tartar, chips, garlic and toasts
Another meal in Prague and yet another tartar, by the way, another great tartar. From the usual components – onion, caper, egg yolk – to a less common sunflower oil – with the proper cut of meat, full of flavor, in the company of some excellent toasts, was enough to turn the tartar into the perfect beginning. I could’ve ended here and still be a happy man.

Cestr - 5Grilled pork belly, smoked pork tenderloin and celery salad
A more creative starter but not least tasteful, showing that not only of veal lives Čestr. Well prepared pork belly, with the right amount of fat, making a nice texture and flavors contrast with the excellent smoked tenderloin. The celery salad cuts very well the weight of the pork meats, giving another dimension and freshness to the dish. Another great starter!

Accompanying the starters, as it should be, was a little mug of Pilsner Urquell and a nicely prepared Martini.

Cestr - 15After tasting we realized why the tartar was one of the best sellers

Cestr - 8Scrag, horseradish and potato puree
One of the three scrag cuts they prepare, rolled and slightly smoked, baked in its own juices and covered with horseradish. Flawless meat, juicy and tasty, with a delicate sauce giving it greasiness and the horseradish giving a kick of spice and freshness. Accompanying, a great potato puree that flawlessly fulfilled its functions. A nice surprise!

Cestr - 9Scrag, potato dumplings
Another of the scrag cuts – this one more common – slowly stewed, with the meat falling apart and full of flavor. Accompanying, the traditional Czech potato dumplings, with the plus of caramelized onions. Very good!

To go with, a Pinot Noir particularly produced for Čestr by a small local producer, Syfany, in the border of the Czech Republic with Slovakia. A light wine, uncompromised, which let the meats shine.

Cestr - 10Sirloin Steak and Hanging Tender, carrots cooked in butter, fries, truffle sauce and pepper sauce
And then it came the time of the saturated beefs, with a sirloin steak and a very special one, the hanging tender, with a very peculiar flavor, slightly spicy with a great texture. Both were maturated for 28 days. Accompanying, besides the great sauces – the truffle one being particularly delicious – good fries, some modest spinach and good carrots with great texture, cooked in butter. It’s because of moments like these we wish to have a restaurant like this one near home.

Harmonizing with the beefs was a Pinot Noir from 2012 quite different from the first we drank, this time a Slovak wine, from the producer Mátyás.

Cestr - 12Kozel Black Beer Ice Cream, plums, malt cookies and caramel foam
The beer has to mark all the moments of the Czech social life, so, Čestr created this dessert, based in a black beer ice cream of the Kozel brand. To the excellent ice cream, of well-marked flavor and where you can sense the alcohol, joins an excellent caramel foam, bringing a silky texture and sweeter notes, as well as the plum, and the dye of the malt cookies. A great dessert that is also one of the signatures of the house.

Cestr - 11Pear Tart, almond streusel and sour cream
To finish an already satiating meal, a sinful dessert. A good cake dough with a filling of cottage cheese and pears, with a topping of the classic streusel and covered with sour cream. Good flavors and textures, without excess sugar, the cream connecting all the elements nicely and cutting the sweetness of the tart. An excellent ending that we were not able to  finish.

To end, a shot of a nut liquor, of which is said to be great for full stomachs, like it was our case. The result, a strong and intense liquor, of long maturation and an high alcohol level that made us squint.

Cestr - 13As to the wine list, highlight to the wines of small producers, mainly from Center Europe and to a wide selection of Orange wines.

The Service is relaxed and informal, with the presentation of the dishes being taken very seriously, with the chefs serving the plates and explaining their cooking and open to clarify any doubts.

Final Remarks
The OMS people didn’t pass through Čestr, for sure, before writing their last report, or else the result would be quite different and the article would be filed. As soon as we go in and see the significance the animal acquires, the way it’s admired and the treatment that is given to the meats, we realize that something different is happening from the usual steakhouses, it is easy to stay put and with a catatonic look for some time while observing the pieces in maturation and the work of the butcher in service.

And the plate reflects precisely that, some of the best pieces of meat I ever tasted, precision, technique and above all a great respect for the ingredients used, letting the animal shine at the highest level. It is one of those spaces that makes us want to bring it home (although I don’t think the Czech would find it funny to lose this restaurant), being of mandatory visit to those visiting Prague, meat lovers or not.

3 dishes menu at 628 CZK (a fantastic quality/price ratio)

Čestr
Legerova 75/57 – Prague
+420 222 727 851
cestr@ambi.cz

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses with the Sony A7S

Disclaimer
We were at Čestr by invitation of the Ambiente group, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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