Prague’s most familiar monument, The Charles Bridge, was founded by Charles IV in 1357, and connects the cities Old Town with the Little Quarter. Now pedestrianised, at one time it could take four carriages abreast. One just needs to close their eyes to imagine the hustle and bustle of an era bygone.
And so it was that on our first evening in the Czech capital we found ourselves standing in awe in front of Old Town Bridge Tower as the twinkle of city lights danced across the Vltava River. We were tip toeing across Charles Bridge in search of a fine feast, pausing every few strides to stare up at a choir of impressive gothic statues which appear to stand guard, frozen in time.
Kampa Park is one of Prague’s premiere fine dining establishments featuring an intimate riverside terrace overlooking the Charles Bridge. Known almost as much for its chic decor and celebrity guests as it is for elegant continental cuisine and Czech wines – it’s the kind of place where European royals and heads of state like to mingle at the dinner hour. The restaurant boasts feeding frenzies by Hollywood A-Listers Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas while Hillary Clinton on a visit once remarked, “I wanted our last night at Kampa Park to go on forever.”
In our own private dining room candlelight flickered across white tablecloth forming a living art piece where shadowy portraits formed a magical canvas “ready for a dainty feast.” We toasted the space and place with frothy pints of Pilsner Urquell, spending the next two hours romancing ourselves over sips, nibbles and gentle whispers. Sommelier extra-ordinary Anton Potvin who sat at the head of the table with me was tasked with the noble duty of pairing each of our five dishes with the perfect wine.
Highlights of the meal included a crab ravioli with kaffir lime mayonnaise and tarragon orange dust followed by a roasted quail with truffled potato puree, glazed grapes and vanilla sauce. As the evening drew to a close I recall hoisting the last few drops of vino from the bottom of my glass and dropping them ever so carefully onto the tip of my tongue. Staring across the table with a smug mug, I realized it had been a short 24 hours since the folks at this table would have been best described as strangers off the street. That night as I panned from left to right the shared smirks and smooches confirmed one can quickly form a happy family with the penchant for travel and shared enthusiasm for a stiff drink, or two.
kaffir lime mayonnaise, tarragon and orange dust
Green Asparagus Soup
soft boiled egg, black truffle coulis, croutons
Pancetta Wrapped Monkfish
celery-caper puree, bean ragout, beurre blanc, salmon trout roe
truffled potato puree, glazed grapes and vanilla sauce
Vanilla Creme Brulee
mango passion fruit sorbet, nut croquant