Saturday, 20 March 2010

Le Grill is deserted

The other night I decided to make a first visit to Le Grill at Prague's Kempinski Hotel having been seduced by a positive review by Claire Compton, a Staff Writer for that august publication, The Prague Post, entitled "Fresh Tastes for Spring", and published in the March 10 - 16th edition. According to Ms Compton Chef Marek Fichtner had introduced a new seasonal menu.

Booked a table for the blonde and i to celebrate her name day and imagined that the restaurant would be bustling with romantic couples either celebrating a similar name day, or taking a crack at the highly rated seasonal menu. Sadly, the restaurant was completely empty and there was no sign of the seasonal menu - perhaps it is just for lunch ? In any event, we both decided to take a main course from the A La Carte offerings ; I asked for the Czech farm chicken with normal mashed potato instead of the sweet potato puree on the menu. The waitress, clearly bored to tears decided she would exercise her culinary knowledge by asking the Chef if that was possible. Rather unkindly, I said to her that if he was having trouble with the plain mash, I would be happy to go to the kitchen and help him out. She appeared ten minutes later to say that mash potato was in Chef Fichtner repetoire, but it would delay the serving by twenty minutes or so. I wonder how he does the sweet potato puree - in a microwave, or, if he keeping a huge pot of it going under some warming lamp. The mind boggles.

True to her promise, the waitress produced the chicken and mash twenty minutes later and the blonde's piece of tired looking white fish. She poked it around the plate for the time it took me to chew threw my tough piece of bird and then left most of it on the plate. Neither dish justified their very high prices or the long wait, given that we were the only two punters in the whole place.

My wine was good - a half bottle of a very nice French Bordeaux, good vintage but annoyingly the waitress had removed it from the table to a resting place out of my reach, so I had to rely on her to re-charge my glass. The blonde consoled herself with pink Champagne which she claimed, took away the taste of the flaky fish.

I don't know who owns the Kempinski, but in terms of the operators agreement all the losses from this restaurant are probably passed on to the owner in terms of a standard hotel operating agreement. My advice to the owner, get down there and shake the whole restaurant team up or you will be waiting years before it breaks even. Its no wonder that the waitress told me that most of the hotel guests dine elsewhere; I don't blame them.

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