Kolkovna Restaurant Prague.
When you first go to a new place….You can choose to read a lot of reviews or don’t and you can choose to believe them all or nothing at all. I read a few, I read pork and beer and that was enough for me. I’m going to Kolkovna.
The official restaurant of the Pilsner Ulquer brewery, Kolkovna, named after the street it’s on is hailed as a celebration of beer and pig. Or is it beer and pork? Either works fine for me.
It is not in my nature to pass an establishment with such reputation, although some reviews I’ve read were not of the positive kind.
From the outside the restaurant looks like any other place. Inside quite a crowded place, something that maybe could be called a gastro-pub. Simple decor, again simple unpretentious tables and chairs.
The place was quite busy.
We got seated as soon as we walked through the door and beer was served almost sooner. The waiter knows you want beer as soon as you say “be.. “. Under no circumstances can one mutter: “be..fore a beer can I get a slibovitz please?”. Which wasn’t a problem for me, as I ordered the slibovitz after the beer came, which was a few seconds later. I was offered, for the first time a mix of blonde and dark beer (Pilsner Ulquer and Kozel) and although it didn’t blow me away it was rather fine. Most beer is mostly rather fine with me.
The menu is a feast on paper. I didn’t get to take a photo of it but I’d like to think that we ordered the best.
I was tempted to do something that one of the reviews I read said: Just go for the beer and the pork.
I’m glad I didn’t. Nevertheless I did order two pork dishes, which, if we’re not counting the beers and for this exercise we won’t, were 50% of the meal and for that proud I am.
So next to the beers that keep coming (you’re being asked if you’d like another as soon as you empty your glass), and good beers they are, the light ( I prefer to call it blonde) Pilsner Ulquer, the smooth Kozel dark and the mix between the two… Mmm, where was I?
So next to the beers, we started with goose liver pate served with cranberry jam and toasted bread and another starter of pork pieces fried-stewed with garlic and served with quite a bit of lard in a glass jar. And toasted bread again. And just to cut through the richness of the pork a green onion. Like that was going to do it. I goose liver pate was rich and tasty and I’m not a big fan of cranberry sauce but I did give it a go, but I think I like it more on its own. I pieces of pork were soft, savoury with garlic, salt and pepper.
On the bottom of the glass jar there was a tasty jelly like goodness with garlic, jellyfied pork juices and hints of bay leaves and thyme. The only thing that let it down a touch for me was the vast amount of lard on the surface. And inch at least. And that would have been fine also if that would have been the only one thing that I could eat at that time and place. Because that was tasty lard! But I had a large jar of liver pate, equally good and tasty, equally heavy on the belly. Equally big portion. A good start of things to come. Or so I thought.
The service here is fast. From the setting of the beers on the table and taking the order I barely had time for a smoke (yes it’s a smoking place this is) before the starter was brought. And as soon as I lighted another (to signal that I was done with the starter) the table was cleared and the main course brought, didn’t even have the time for a whole cigarette. As I do understand that they need to move fast and clear tables for the next customers, the place had plenty of empty seats, the rush wasn’t necessary. That I didn’t really like.
This brings me to the main course. More pork here. A couple of measly semi-picked vegetables. A pound of roasted potatoes. And then slow cooked venison with a red wine sauce and a couple of rice “scoops”. Two more beers. Anyway, the big broad smile on my face wasn’t to last for long. For I am a gluton and did stuff myself with the more than excellent starter.
And the look of that roasted pork, slowly cooked in the oven for long, long periods of time with crispy skin on some parts, melting in some other was a tease on the plate. I put my smile back on, ignored the potatoes (lovely roasted and very tasty I might add), and tackled the pork.
(Damn it, as I write this my mouth fills with water and the only thing remotely close to that pork that I have in the house is located bag of Mr. Porky pork scratchings, so I tuck into them.)
Mouthful after mouthful I go through crispy skin, melting fat and juicy meat. It’s good. Now, I had a few pork knuckles in my time and this one is right up there with the best of them. As I go through the huge hunk of meat I can only think of the big mistake I made by ordering a starter.
Half of me regrets it because there is no way for me to finish this plate anytime before the weekend is over. The other half doesn’t because I got to try the awesome starters…. And my whole being hates the waiter that could have informed me that this greatness of a pork knuckle weighs just about 1,3kg. And that no regular human being would be able to finish it. After a large starter.
In retrospective I think that I would have ordered the starter anyway, but after the main, to take it away. But he didn’t and there I was managing a large piece of meat feeling increasingly sorry that I would never be able to finish it. And managed to get through just about a third of it.
The waiters again behave quite pushy in the way asking every 5 minutes if we’ve finished and did politely send them away, but the third time I admitted defeat and gave in. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have liked to spend another couple of hours at that table, with my beer and my pork.
So when you go to Kolkovna don’t be in a rush, be prepared to push waiters away and enjoy your pork. And make sure to enjoy your beer. And should you choose anything else from the menu apart from pork (although I can’t see why) enjoy that too, I’m sure it won’t be bad. But not as good as the pork.
Did I mention the venison? I think I did. I had a taste, the meat was well cooked and tender but I found the sauce to be just a touch too sweet for me. The rice was… well, rice. The beer? Niceeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!