In three weeks in Europe, I’ve eaten well rarely. We don’t go to expensive restaurants, for sure, but it seems the only way that you can reliably eat at a high level is to pay a vast price for what’s in front of you.
Tonight we tried Potrefina Husa, near our hotel in Bratislava, Slovakia. A kind of nouveau pub — the idea of gastropub is yet to emerge in Europe — it’s a tip of the numerous tentacles of the enormous Czech brewer Staropramen.
And for the first time I have to admit the food was clean and well cooked, a duck thigh on purple cabbage fine and a pork knuckle tasty enough if a tiny bit dry. Bread dumplings and chips were excellent, and minced horseradish and apple clever and appropriate.
But we we asked for tap water to accompany our bottle of rose and were given bottled water. Suddenly, the waiter’s English had failed him. And for about 600ml of still ale of Adam we were charged 3.5 euros, perhaps 10 times what the restaurant paid for it. What a rort! You can’t imagine my rage.
And the effect is that we won’t be going back to Potrefina nor any Staropramen resto. If that’s the way they behave, they don’t deserve my custom — or yours.
Our complaints, too, fell on deaf ears. Mind you, Staropramen is a giant, but it’s worthwhile to tilt at giants occasionally. Look what David did.