Many books have already been written about Prague’s rich underground. Numerous restaurants and galleries operate in Romanesque houses in the Old Town, while theaters and cinemas are located in the underground of modern buildings in the New Town. But the cave is the only one in the center of Prague. And it will surprise you in every way. A colorful past, amazing decoration and great filling.
So come and introduce her to me. An artificial stalactite cave created in the art nouveau style can be found underground in the building that today houses the Adria Hotel. It was created in 1912 and is decorated with motifs from the ancient fable about the singer Orpheus, who went to the underworld for his beloved Eurydice in order to bring her back to the living. Among the reliefs, you will also find the ferryman Charon or the three-headed dog Kerber, who guarded the entrance to the underworld.
There are also a lot of funny details. For example, the ravens symbolizing sleep and death, which are pecking at the owl, which is a symbol of reason. The message is clear: Nothing is in your hands, there is no point in defying fate.
At the caskets
The rich decoration reflects its time, as it was created in the period of decadence before the First World War. The special decoration corresponded to the use of the space – it was home to a restaurant called U rakviček, in which coffin lids were used instead of tables and where guests were served by waiters dressed in undertakers’ uniforms. Well, that’s how gastronomy in the Czech capital might have looked a hundred years ago.
After the war, a theater club moved into the unique premises, in which several famous personalities took turns – for one season, the star Vlasta Burian entertained the guests, who was later replaced by the less successful pair of comedians Werich and Voskovec. Under socialism, it was a coal warehouse and later a youth club, but in the 1990s the space returned to its original purpose and the Triton restaurant was established here.
And an ordinary restaurant should work in extraordinary premises, the owners of the business not because of the so-called art gastronomy, i.e. the creative preparation of dishes that surprise the guests just like the impressive environment here.
For several years, the company was managed by chef Tomáš Horák, who worked here extensively with molecular cuisines and also experimented with today’s fashionable fermentation. Perhaps the only chef in Prague, he also fermented meat, which he pickled for several days in koji rice with noble mold.
This spring, young chef Tomáš Kohút became the company’s new chef. And he presented his new menu at the end of September.
Kohút’s dishes are inspired by the evergreens of Czech cuisine, but of course they are completely disassembled and “rebuilt” into new, highly futuristic flavors in order to surprise guests not only with a crystalline but also with a beautiful visual appearance, which is typical of art gastronomy.
One of the hits of the new menu is the excellent presentation of zavináč, a classic pub dish where the dominant sour taste of vinegar and cabbage overpowers the taste of the meat itself. The Rooster marinates the fish, specifically the tender Candata, in Prosecco vinegar, which is not so aggressive and has a delicious fish flavor. Then he adds a sweet puree of cashew nuts and bacon, fish skin chips and a delicate kefir and dill sauce.
Belly for connoisseurs
Next is the presentation of “fried cauliflower”, which the young Slovak chef transformed into a delicate soup, but the biggest surprise of the new menu is clearly the fantastic presentation of the pork dumpling, because you probably won’t taste such a belly anywhere else in Prague. The tender and juicy meat is accompanied by purple potato dumplings filled with truffles, served with marinated cabbage, beetroot puree and demi-glace sauce softened with butter. And we will add a tip for dessert, be sure to try the “decomposed” apple strudel, in a modern and light form.
Like bungee jumping
The chef himself compares his menu to an experience as powerful as bungee jumping. The first course is the moment when you are approaching the top of the ladder and you are delighted in an exceptional experience. The second run is the phase where you wait for the peak, just before the jump. He compares the third course to the flight itself, when you are already enjoying a good dose of adrenaline. Dessert is the moment when you’re done jumping, but you’re still grinning with happiness. It’s hard to describe, come and jump. Triton is ready for you.