La Degustation

Ladegustation - 21Just after arriving in Prague, after a long trip, with taxis, scales, Ubers and check-ins, we left the hotel (see) to get to know a bit of the historical center of town, while making time to our reservation at La Degustation – Bohême Bourgeoise. The restaurant, open since 2006, is part of the Ambiente group – owners of some of the most famous restaurants in the city, whose focus is the quality of the ingredients and the Czech root of their signature. The space increasingly gained prestige as the best restaurant in the city, until 2012 when it got its first Michelin star.

The cuisine, in the hands of Oldřich Sahajdák, is a combination of the Czech culture, local ingredients and their flavors, with the aesthetics and concept of the new Nordic cuisine. So, unusual combinations are to be expected, as well as dishes that overwhelm our senses.

Ladegustation - 1Already inside the restaurant, the decoration meets the expectations, a modern environment, with one of the wings dominated by the elegant bar and the other with an open kitchen where the chefs finish the dishes, in a well-orchestrated play. We had a table in the front row, next to the kitchen, which gave us another way to see and appreciate the dishes.

Ladegustation - 20Amuse bouche

As soon as we sat down, we were welcomed with two small rolls of a super thin celery root pickle that served to wake up our taste buds. Accompanying, a Czech sparkling wine, Gala Extra Brut, 100% Chardonnay, a positive surprise given my little knowledge of Czech wines.

Ladegustation - 19Snacks

Followed four snacks, and we quickly realized the level of creativity that lives in the kitchen of La Degustation, crispy rabbit ear with duck pate, crunchy potato with carrot, onion and garlic, cucumber pickle with rosemary and crunchy fish skin, mayo and flowers. Highlight to the delicious and crisp rabbit ear, reminding a crackling and to the fish skin, of light and elegant flavor with a delicate aroma.

Ladegustation - 16tartar 

To finish the snacks was served a tartar, between two thin slices of crunchy bread that worked as one of the best finger food moments I ever experienced, good contrast of textures, good cut of the meat and excellent seasoning. Very good!

Following these “little games” came the inevitable bread, and the butter, both of excellent quality with the texture of the butter (almost mousse) deserving a note.

An then, the true beginning of the tasting (the restaurant presents only two options, the 6 dishes menu or the 11 dishes), doing the harmonization with natural juices, an option to take in account for the surprise factor and boldness.

Ladegustation - 15Třeboň catfish (catfish from the Czech area of Třeboň), dill and poppy seeds
An elegant and fresh dish, accurate for the beginning of a meal. The matching of the dill oil with the raw fish (sashimi style) and the texture given by the crunchy buckwheat and the poppy seeds, turns the dish quite interesting to the palate, more so when combined with the cream in the bottom of the plate (somewhere between a yogurt and a crème fraiche, homemade).

Also excellent the combination with the cucumber juice, highlighting even more the freshness and herbal notes of the dish.

Ladegustation - 14Pumpkin, cream and prosciutto from Prague
A true autumn dish, with a light and thin pumpkin soup of distinguished flavor, accompanied by a “Chantilly” made with an infusion of crunchy prosciutto from Prague. The Chantilly gave another structure to the dish, besides the game of temperatures, it added texture and dimension with the light smoked flavor of the prosciutto persisting in the mouth. A great soup.

Accompanying very well was an elderberry juice.

Ladegustation - 13Tomato, mustard and lovage
This third dish, for me, was the most enchanting of the evening, a dish I won’t forget anytime soon, for its apparent simplicity and its unique flavor. A mix of several types of tomato, with different cooking methods, highlight to the light tomato water foam. Connecting the different types of tomato were the mustard seeds that, besides their flavor, added texture, and a brilliant Dijon mustard ice cream. The lovage (herb with similarities to parsley or coriander) adds a few more notes with its taste that reminds celery. Dishes like this make me want to be a vegetarian (for brief moments)!

In our glass, another nicely prepared juice with a basis of sea buckthorn berries, which fresh notes worked very well with the dish.

Ladegustation - 18

Ladegustation - 11Beetroot, goat kefir and gooseberries
Dehydrated beetroot and cooked in different ways, presenting a series of textures to its sweet earthy flavor, nicely combined with the freshness and acidity of the kefir snow (which also added temperature to stimulate the taste buds) and the gooseberries. Another flawless dish!

Harmonized with a cherry juice, which natural sweetness worked very well with the beetroot.

Ladegustation - 10Stepánovsko Chicken, Pearl barley, horseradish and flowers
In terms of flavor and surprise, the main dish was a few points below its predecessors. Despite the delicate flavor of the chicken, sous-vide cooked and then grilled, and the good preparation of the pearl barley, the dish doesn’t completely win us.

Accompanying was a fantastic juice, made with nuts,  flavor that stood out; our wish was to bring a series of bottles home.

Ladegustation - 17

Entering the dessert field, we chose to share the two available, a Cheese and a Sweet.

Ladegustation - 9pre-dessert

As it should be in a tasting menu, first comes the pre-dessert, a waffle with a cream of dry fruits, cocoa and blackberry. Good flavors, especially the ice cream filling both waffles; however the dish lost for the texture of the waffle itself, too dry and boring.

Ladegustation - 8Blaťácké zlato and romadurrowan berries
Another dish where the Czech roots are quite noticeable, two regional cheeses, made with cow milk, slightly gratin over rowan berries. The cheeses were not surprising for their flavor – very light I dare say, but their texture and the combination with the berries were an excellent company to a good slice of bread.

Went very well with an elegant gooseberry juice.

Ladegustation - 7Potato, plum, peach and raspberries
An excellent dessert that brings to memory the influence of the Nordic cuisine with one of the classics of Noma in which the potato also combines with the plum to create a dessert. Sweet enough, the creamy elements combine very well with the iced raspberry and the Chantilly like cream.

A great ending, even better combined with a raspberry soda.

With our meal coming to an end, we completely surrendered to the “theater” in the kitchen, where we enjoyed the work and perfect coordination between the room and the kitchen.

Ladegustation - 12Followed a great and light filtered coffee with the usual petit four, a tasty and delicate marshmallow and a mini-dessert, plum with cheese and cinnamon. Both delicious.

Ladegustation - 6Marshmallow

Ladegustation - 5Plum with cheese and cinnamon

Not being able to talk about the wine list, and having in account we made, and very well, the harmonization with juices, it seemed to me, by the wines I saw arriving at other tables, that the work of the sommelier Roman Novotny is based in presenting different wines, of high quality, apart from their geographical location. Highlight, obviously, to a large selection of artisanal beers, or wouldn’t we be in the Czech Republic.

The Service follows the elegance of the cuisine, served with the entire technical domain, without the invasion and complication of the classic service, creating a good atmosphere in harmony with the food presented.

Ladegustation - 3

Ladegustation - 2 A toast with Niepoort LBV 2011

In the end of the service was also time to celebrate this amazing dinner with a very Portuguese toast, with a Port Wine from Niepoort, the LBV 2011 that traveled with us to Prague, delighting those who tasted it.

Final Remarks
If it’s true that the cuisine of Central Europe, the Czech in particular, never enjoyed great fame, it is also sure that this La Degustation and the cuisine of Oldřich Sahajdák exists to change that paradigm. A Czech cuisine created to the image of the Nordic influence that opposing to the Spanish vanguard, didn’t impose techniques and flowery, but more of an ideology and another way to see the world through the cuisine. An enormous respect for local ingredients, the root and memory of flavor. It was for sure a great experience for our first night in the city, regardless of its Michelin star, it is a restaurant that leaves its mark to those who visit it and of which we’ll certainly hear about in the future.

Mandatory visit to those arriving in Prague!

La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise
Haštalská 18 – Prague
+420 222 311 234

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses with Sony A7S

We were at La Degustation 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. Port Wine LBV 2011, courtesy of Niepoort.

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  • By Visiting Prague in 3 Days – Day 1 on November 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    […] and the time for some dinner arrived, in our case, the choice went to the amazing La Degustation (see) and then we went to get some rest because the next day would be a long […]

  • By Wine on Tour #3 – Niepoort on January 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    […] started our visit by La Degustation (see), where we made a brilliant harmonization of the dishes with natural juices, homemade, so we had to […]

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