U Vejvodu calls itself “the original Pilsner Urquell restaurant”, which appears to be the claim also made by U Pinkasu. Its extensive premises, much altered over the centuries, go back to mediaeval times. In 1908 they were taken over by an arts guild, which converted it into studios. They appear to be the restaurant’s present owner and proprietor—the website’s introduction is signed, With the greatest respect, The collective of the Restaurant U Vejvodů. The building’s architectural evolution is described HERE in considerable detail; it is a protected building.
Like last night, the non-smoking area was an isolated smaller room but it was open along one side to the rest of the basement area, where we could see the bar with its huge copper canopy. When we arrived, we were the only diners in the room, a party having just departed, leaving little behind on their table except several lengths of large bone. If I hadn’t seen them go, I might have taken them for some large species of quadruped carnivores.
In fact, all the tables seemed to have been set out in anticipation of prodigious appetites, with hanging racks of enormous pretzels such as I hadn’t seen since leaving America. And there’s Mary, happily awaiting our meal. We’re already half-way through our first half-litre of brown ale, and I’ve evidently polished off most of a pretzel.
Carrying on in the tradition I’d established the previous evening, I’d ordered Knee of pork baked with dark beer, horseradish, mustard, barbecue sauce. I’m very familiar with this in Germany as Eisbein or Schweineshachse, but this huge joint arrived resplendent on the rack on which it had been cooked, served up on a big wooden platter together with horseradish and barbecue sauces and both smooth and wholegrain mustards. What a feast! To get it off the bone consumed so much energy that I told myself hopefully that the net caloric gain must be close to zero. Such succulent meat and such crisp crackling! If this dish were available back in London, cooked to the same high standard, I’d have to change my entire wardrobe every year.
Mary chose Roast duckling of Bohemian Forest country with apples, red cabbage, bread and potato dumpling. Top-notch in both quality and quantity! Their German style red cabbage, which we frequently have at home, was particularly sweet and delicious. Mary’s not fond of heavy dumplings, so I generously volunteered to help her dispose of them.
We finished with a couple of desserts, which were OK but not worth describing. We should have had their hot raspberries with vanilla ice cream, an extraordinarilly successful combination which we would have the following night. Nevertheless, a fine meal and a great venue. If we return to Prague (no, when!), both these historical monuments will be objects of a second holy pilgrimage.