Apr 1 2013

Essensia

Essensia restaurant is located in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Prague, and I was staying in the Mandarin Oriental and me and my dinner buddy Ulle were feeling a bit tired to have dinner anywhere else outside of the hotel, so we decided to take it easy and just go to the convenient Essensia restaurant. The same space acts as a restaurant in the evening and in the morning it is a breakfast venue, but apart from the dark lighting in the evening it is the same in terms of interior both morning and evening. The place has square type of tables and straight tallish ornamented with golden leaves dark red chairs. The menu has 2 long/ large pages and 1 is dedicated to the Czech cuisine and the other offers Asian dishes (Thai, Japanese, Indian, Chinese etc), so it is a half Asian and half traditional Czech restaurant which at first seemed a bit strange to me, but then I realized it is Mandarin Oriental comes from Asia and so they want to offer you to experience both sides, the country where the hotel is from and the country where it is in.

The waiter explained the dishes were designed so that you could eat a starter, a soup and a main course. I was not feeling very hungry and I decided to go for 2 soups from the Asian menu and my dinner buddy Ulle chose a starter from the Czech section and the main course from the Asian. I did not think any of their Asian dishes were particularly great and I was disappointed in all of them really. The waiters were nice and professional and explained the few things they were missing on the menu and suggested alternatives. Before our meal we had an amuse bouche which was a thin scallop with avocado puree and a small cracker on top, which was pleasant but not very memorable in taste and a bit plain. The thing that I however very much liked was the bread selection, and they had Indian type of crackers, Thai style crackers as well as European type of bread, and I thought this was great, and served with delicious dips. As for my first course, I chose tom kha goong, a spicy Thai soup with tiger prawns and coconut milk and the soup had these strange onions in it, which totally overpowered the whole soup and it did not seem like the typical tom yum soup I so frequently have. I did not like it very much and left a lot of it uneaten. Ulle had one of the traditional Czech soups called “Kulajda’ which was a “creamy bohemian soup” with Egg 64°C/90’, dill potatoes & wild mushrooms (Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic in case you were wondering). The waiter brought the content of the soup and then poured the broth over it. As for the second soup I had a Vietnamese pho with spiced duck broth with vegetables and 2 duck dumplings . The broth was extremely strong in its flavour and once again I found it a bit overpowering. The duck dumplings were very nice though and the batter felt very tender and just high quality and I also liked how the soup had coriander and other herbs. So I did prefer this one to the first soup but still it was not great and not very typical. The way it is presented (the waiter also brought me the content and then poured over the broth) is very professional and high class, which suits an expensive restaurant like Essensia it is just the taste that lets it down. For the main course Ulle wanted to have poached seabass served with pumpkin, zucchini & lemon grass-dashi beurre blanc, and they did not have sea bass but they offered to do the same dish with pike, which is what Ulle had. They gave you a lot of fish and not that much garnish.

I was not that impressed with Essensia but that is because as I said I think their Asian dishes are probably worse than Czech, and you should go for the Czech dishes in this restaurant. The waiters are good and appropriate for an expensive and high class restaurant, but as I said the Asian dishes just taste a bit strange and I don’t know maybe they try to do the Asian dishes in a Czech fusion style manner (which they don’t specify on the menu) or just doing their own slight spin on the Asian food but either way it just does not work. Maybe I was silly to have Asian food in Czech Republic full stop. Also I was not particularly impressed with the setting of this restaurant. 

Date: 01/04/13
Price for 2 people with a glass of wine: CZK2565, which is around 84 pounds (and I left mistakenly 25CZK tip when I should have left 256)
Location: Prague

Maija rated: 

2.00

Location: 

Essensia
Nebovidská 3, 118 00
Prague
Czech Republic
CZ
Essensia Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 2