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Review: Food Adventure

Slovenian deli/bistro takes a personal approach to fresh farm products


Posted: March 13, 2013

By Fiona Gaze - Staff Writer | Comments (0) | Post comment

Review: Food Adventure

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Egg, steak and potatoes: the simple basis for a very good meal, of which Food Adventure has many.

The chef's suggestion that we split our two entrees into two separate courses, at no extra charge, felt like a revelation. "It's better that way, so you can try more," he explained, having talked us through the concise menu of farm-sourced Slovenian dishes that the deli-cum-bistro in Bubeneč changes on a regular basis, according to what's in season and what's inspired. The owners of Food Adventure have a contagious enthusiasm about their products, which hail from a selection of Slovenian farms and fishmongers, and tasting as many dishes as possible among our table was tempting on recent visits, when we weighed up having the homemade pasta with truffles, octopus goulash, grilled mullet, or beef sirloin topped with a poached egg.

There are just two tables here: a social one that seats up to 12, and a more intimate spot for four at the back. The setup is bright and cheery, with a deli counter up front filled with Slovenian cured meats and cheeses, homemade pickled vegetables and containers of Piran salt, one of the best sea salts in Europe.

The popularity of farm-sourced products is a relatively new phenomenon in the Czech Republic. In Slovenia, however, there is a long tradition of eating locally and organically, aided in no small part by the country's varied and fertile landscapes, from Alpine pastures to a small, but lush, coastline. Its cuisine is a melting pot of the region, with rich stews, pastas and fresh seafood in simple preparations. The owners of Food Adventure also have rotating stalls at the Jiřák, Kulaťák and Náplavka farmers' markets, where they sell Slovenian products and bowls of stews or soups.

Food Adventure is not only a comfortable spot to take in authentic Slovenian dishes, but also a rarely seen level of hospitality. The benefit of a small restaurant like this one, as evidenced by the popularity of such deli/bistro combos around town, is that it can feel like dining at a friend's house - granted, a friend who has above-average know-how in the kitchen. On a recent evening visit, the owners (the chef and waitress) took the time to explain the origins of each ingredient, and chatted about agritourism in their home country.

Food Adventure
Eliášova 16, Prague 6-Bubeneč
Tel. 721 099 781
Open Mon.-Wed. 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 9 a.m.-midnight
Nonsmoking
Foodadventure.eu

Review 3.5  
Food 4
Service 3.5  
Atmosphere 3.5

On the menu

Meat and cheese plate 180 Kč
Fresh winter salad 50 Kč
Fish soup 140 Kč
Homemade pasta with truffles 250 Kč
Grilled octopus with potato salad 250 Kč
Grilled mullet with potato salad 260 Kč
Homemade pasta with turkey and pancetta 250 Kč
Sirloin steak with poached egg, rucola and roast potatoes 350 Kč
0.75 L Sivi Pinot wine
300 Kč
Carafe of tap water Free

We started with a bottle of Slovenian white, a Sivi Pinot that was light and crisp. All of the wines are available for takeout purchase as well, for about 50 Kč less than opening them in-house. With the wine, a mixed plate of cured meats and cheeses was memorable: a Slovenian prosciutto aged two years in salt and pepper that was silky smooth; razor-thin pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta, ruby-red and marbly; wedges of Emmental, gouda and sharp sheep cheese from Alpine farms; and rich slabs of Czech goat cheese, with dark Slovenian olives and a drizzling of extra-virgin olive oil. The plate came with a basket of crusty, flour-dusted homemade bread and a bowl of palate-cleansing pickled bell peppers and mushrooms.

Returning on a Friday - the day Food Adventure gets fresh fish - a starter with anchovies was available; they practically melted onto the bread and got along well with an accompanying young cow's cheese. A fish soup was incredibly good, as well, served tableside from a heavy, cast-iron pot and consisting of a simple buttery broth with parsley, emphasized by plump shrimp and musky hunks of trout.

The octopus goulash wasn't ready at lunchtime, but the grilled octopus was heavenly, with six large, charred fresh slabs, cooked to perfection and served with a potato salad made with roasted pumpkin seed oil, which turned it bright green and added a smokey zest to the plate. The grilled mullet, which came with four of the modest fish whole, also came with the potato salad.

Another special that day was turkey steak tossed in pasta with pancetta in a buttery, citrus-infused sauce, the tender meat brightened by orange rind and grated sheep cheese.

Food Adventure's pastas are made by hand and air-dried, and the wide, flat noodles that came topped with truffle shavings were made from spelt flour, giving an earthy flavor that suited the musky truffles, which hailed from Istria. Melted truffle butter and grated sheep cheese rounded out the dish, which proved a good prelude to the sirloin steak.

We asked for the steak medium-rare, but only one part of the halved portion was close to that; the other was a solid medium-well to well-done in places. It would have also been helpful to have a steak knife for ease of cutting, but apart from that it was hard to fault, needing no help but a sprinkling of Piran salt and the oozing poached egg that sat on top, mixing with the meat's juices for a soppable jus, with perfectly roasted potatoes sitting nearby at the ready. The steak sat atop a bed of rucola, which gave a fresh tartness to the rich egg and steak.

At both meals, we took the owners' suggestion of a winter salad on the side, which proved a refreshing bite. Made with baby spinach and radicchio from Slovenia's coast, it was served with a dressing of pumpkin seed oil, apple cider vinegar and garlic.

Because of its size, Food Adventure would be an ideal place to take over with a group of friends and try a table-wide tasting menu. Even with a small group, however, it's refreshing to be able to pick and choose, or ask for substitutions, or just try a little bit of everything.¨


Fiona Gaze can be reached at
fgaze@praguepost.com

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