After a day of new experiences in Prague, we decided to try another – the recently opened restaurant CottoCrudo at the Four Seasons Prague. The name means “cooked” and “raw” and the restaurant serves a variety of raw Italian delicacies as part of the menu. Executive Chef Richard Fuchs describes the concept like this: “Working with the best of our seasonal quality ingredients, we offer an extensive menu of Italian and Mediterranean dishes, including fresh seafood, homemade pasta, choice meat cuts, and artisan products from the Piedmont and Tuscany regions of Italy”. As if this wasn’t enough to grab your attention, many of these ingredients are displayed in the crudo bar in the centre of the room, making your mouth water as soon as you step through the door.
The décor is modern and stylish but, in the warm Prague evening, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit outside on the terrace and watch the fading light over Hradčany on the opposite river bank, a view which I described earlier as possibly the best in Prague. Passing the crudo bar, we peered into the cabinets and inhaled deeply, perhaps trying to absorb the delicious looking hams and cheeses through the glass. Walking had cultivated a substantial appetite and, as much as I enjoyed Czech cuisine, there are only so many dumplings one can eat before one starts craving something a little more refined…Seated at our table, we were quickly presented with menus and the crudo bar concept was explained to us; dishes are small and can be mixed and matched as you wish. Trusting the selection of the chef, I chose the Misto CottoCrudo, an antipasto board, and my partner chose the scallops with red radish, lime and sweet chilli. We both prefer red wine and the waiter was happy to suggest a light red for us that wouldn’t be too heavy for our food. The Barbera D’Alba Vietti with which we were presented was fruity with a touch of spice but low tannins and complemented our food very nicely.
For the main course, my partner had ordered the black tagliolini with lobster which was bright and fresh in both appearance and flavour – as all good seafood should be – and made excellent, subtle use of Italian herbs. My main course was tagliata di manzo with glazed shallots and morels. I had heard that is sometimes difficult to get your meat anything less than well done in the Czech Republic so it was nice to find the beef in this dish perfectly medium-rare and artfully combined with the earthy flavour of the morels. By this point in the meal we were both very impressed and contented; night had descended, the Castle and opposite river bank illuminated and one could not wish for a more romantic setting.
For our final course, we chose the Misto dessert, the chef’s choice of three miniatures to share. On the day that we dined, these were a citrus-sharp Baba Napoletano wih limonello, the only dessert in the trio available on the menu, a rich, nutty, honey cake and two miniature Czech doughnuts, which were a little reminiscent of profiteroles, but not filled and with a tangy jam on top. We found all three to be perfectly executed and the sharing was a suitably intimate to end a successful dinner. Once presented with a complimentary Grappa, it was very tempting to stay on the terrace in the cool evening air to enjoy the view but we were eventually able to tear ourselves away, safe in the knowledge that we had a similar view from the privacy of our Four Seasons bedroom.
Four Seasons Hotel Prague