I had a few good meals in Brno; two at mid-range restaurants and one more upmarket. We went to a couple of nice cafes too. You’ll find everywhere mentioned below on my map.
The best one was my belated 51st birthday meal with my dad at this posh place…
Borgo Agnese (Advanced B+), Kopečná 980/43, 602 00 Brno-Střed, www.borgoagnese.cz
This posh establishment is considered to be one of the best places in town. The sleek interior incorporates part of a 13th century church that once stood on this spot.
Really it’s more of an Italian or Mediterranean restaurant than a Czech one, although some ingredients and many of the wines are local.
After a rather flavourless amuse bouche of roast duck (C)…
…we began in earnest with Tajarin (if in Piedmont, or Tagliolini elsewhere) in a white truffle emulsion, which was superb (A).
For my main I had the Mangalica, two slices of roast pork (from a Romanian pig breed noted for its thick woolly coat) served with a celeriac puree, green apple and carrot (B+).
My Dad enjoyed his medium-rare 100g Hereford sirloin steak with potato and courgette chips, the latter fried in a tempura batter (B+).
To drink, we had a decent local Cabernet Sauvignon called ‘Biza’ (B) which was recommended by our friendly waiter.
For dessert I had a slice of cake with some stewed plums which was okay but didn’t do that much for me (C).
The local dessert wine wasn’t very sweet (hard to make in these northerly climes) but was okay (C). I was also offered a French sweet wine but it didn’t float my boat either (C+), and anyway I wanted to try the local vinos.
A final shot of a refined but somewhat flavourless Slivovice named ‘Kleiner’ (B-) sent us on our merry way.
Total cost was 4544 Czech crowns, about £160, which wasn’t too bad by UK standards for what we had. The food was served a bit too quickly but despite that minor criticism, I’d happily go again.
On another occasion we had a really nice dinner at this traditional Czech tavern in the market square…
Restaurace Špalíček (Intermediate A), Zelný trh 332/12, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed
This is a very popular local place so it’s probably a good idea to reserve.
I began with a mixed plate of local cheeses which resembled Camembert, Edam and Gorgonzola, all very good (B+).
The goulash is supposed to be excellent here but having had it a couple of times in Vienna I fancied something different. I went for the mixed platter which had pork roll, roast duck breast and smoked sausage served with some stewed red cabbage, apple sauce and slices of three different kinds of dumplings. It was very good (B+) but the standout was the smoked sausage (A+).
To go with this we shared a bottle of local red called Kure na Papricce which went down well (B) and a Slivovice each (B). The bill came to just over 1,000 crowns, or about £40 for two.
Špalíček is favourite restaurant in Brno, I’d definitely go again.
This next place was an experience too…
Pivovarská Starobrno (Intermediate B+), Mendlovo nám. 158/20, 603 00 Brno-střed-Staré Brno, www.pivovarskabrno.cz
This is the restaurant for the local Starobrno brewery. Brno has a history of over 750 years of brewing and Starobrno (now part of Heineken) has over 140 years of tradition on this site. It’s a big, modern beer hall serving hearty portions of Czech food.
I really enjoyed the roasted spare ribs served with wholegrain mustard, cream cheese, mild peppers and wholemeal buns. It was simple but hearty food (B+).
Naturally I washed this down with a couple of flagons of the local pilsner (B). They have thirteen other varieties of their beer on tap.
With three beers the bill came to 654 crowns, about £26, between us.
And briefly, these places were also okay…
Cosmopolis Café (Intermediate C), Zelný trh 314/2, Brno-město, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, www.facebook.com/cosmopolisbrno/
A historical cafe on the ground floor of the Hotel Grandezza which dates from the beginning of the twentieth century.
Pellegrini (Intermediate B), 18 Svobody (in the main square)
A quick lunch of some lovely chicken and noodle soup (A). For us both, it came to 212 crowns with two beers, or about £17.
You’ll find more untried (but recommended by guides) establishments on my map.
After Brno, I went back to Vienna for a few days (see previous posts) and then home for a while before heading to Chile and Argentina, more of which next!