Serendipity: some concept with an argument on reality. Yet, a fortunate set of circumstances made me believe in it for a moment. The time of a meal, the time to digest it, the time to travel through it.
When in Prague, and by accident in Karlin – the coming up neighborhood of the Czech Republic’s capital – and by chance hungry, and by some sort of crazy thought looking for a restaurant on Tripadvisor… Where “serendipity” is the title of a recent review of Eska.
Lodged in a masterfully repurposed factory, high from its 6 months of age, the entrance shies away from view. Paradox: an outlet with a reimagined Flash logo, bright in red neon, and not a chance to stumble upon it by mistake.
The menu is as efficient as a group tour: 6 appetizers, 6 mains, 1 cheese and 2 desserts. Options are 5 or 8 courses tasting menu. All is inspired by what is available in the surroundings of Prague, with hints here and there of a chef who likes traveling and open wide his eyes and mouth. The bus driver takes you for a ride.
He has a risk-taking attitude. Raw beef, chicken hearts, fermented cheese – not the obvious choices for a tasting menu and enough to put off the least adventurous.
Eska is not a restaurant, it’s a tour guide, it’s taking a bus through the countryside, through hills and fields, down a path made of soil, farms, grass. And they are all to be eaten.
Where can you go, travelling, and be inviting to eat the country itself – its hearts (chicken), its root (celeriac), its forest and pastures (mushrooms, garlic flowers, grass)?
You cannot. Paradox: it’s in the renewed part of the city, the modern hotspot, that the old country is there to grasp.
As if you could bite the landscape through the train’s windows. I know I did.
Address: Pernerova 49, 186 00 Praha 8-Karlín, Czech Republic