Thursday, August 12
It is often said that advertising is a "leading economic indicator". When spending on advertising falls, there is economic trouble ahead for everyone else. Perhaps restaurants are a similar indicator. For some time Prague restaurants have started to look expensive. For example twice this year I have visited an excellent Greek restaurant in the affluent heart of Vienna, called Orpheus. Converting the bill, I was surprised to see how close the prices were to our local and much loved Kavala. That seemed to me something, which cannot continue.
Recently, I visited a couple of new restaurants, and was very pleasantly surprised by the price. La Gare may already be familiar to a lot of you, when I was there, Graham Rust and his family were all there enjoying their meal. What surprised me was that main dishes were priced at 160-180 CZK, including accompaniments, when I was expecting more like 260-300CZK. The wine list was equally reasonable, we had a very acceptable Rousillion wine for around 400CZK. They also offer a service whereby if you enjoy their wine, you can buy a bottle to take home at a discount of 47% on the restaurant price. The service is a bit variable, it was heavily criticised in this review in the Prague Post, but I believe they will get it right. A few days later there was a similar story in a restaurant called Touch. I was attracted to this one because of its commitment to locally sourced produce. But the prices are again under 200CZK for a main course, in a formal environment in the heart of the Old Town, and they give you a loyalty card with 20% discount on future visits. The food was very enjoyable in both cases, and they deserve your custom, provided they sort out the service.
But more than that, it may be a sign that some people are thinking about the lessons of the economic crisis, and reacting in a positive way. Let's support them, and eat and drink our way out of recession :-)