And there the world below can't bother me
Right smack dab in the middle of town, there's a new chill out spot where you can escape the madding crowds, eat tapas and grilled meats, and soak up some sun.
Sounds cool, no?
It's on top of building that houses Tesco and the My Narodní department store (cue sound of a stylus skipping across record).
Wait, what? Tesco tapas?
I doubted Bohe(my)a Lounge & Grill Bar would be worth checking out when I first heard about it. Then I read the menu on Facebook and I was enticed. The breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, and tapas were not the same old, same old.
There's an elevator, but I took the series of escalators up to the top floor. Then I made my way through the kitchen equipment department.
Outside, there's a giant wooden deck surrounded by glass. In the middle, there's a bar, and on a far side, there's a grill.
For seating, there were comfortable wicker chairs and three sets of outdoor lounge couches. Those were very popular.
I never got to kick back on those, they were always taken.
It is important to note that the restaurant is only open during warm weather months; it closes when it rains, and last orders are at 9 p.m.
I started off with a beer. They only have Stella Artois and Staropramen, neither of which I like very much. For some strange reason, I received the Staro in a Stella glass.
I was assured that this was, indeed, Staro. The beer was so flat that I walked it over to the bar and said I would not drink it.
I ordered a Staropramen Granát instead. This was not cold enough for my taste, but at least drinkable.
The manager came over shortly after and told me that he was sorry about the problem and the beer would be on the house.
I then ordered the most interesting-sounding item on the menu: the watermelon and feta cheese salad (118 CZK). It was mostly watermelon, with just a few rucola leaves and some raisins at the bottom.
The feta was creamy rather than the usual blocky, crumbly stuff. Perhaps it was my expectations, but I wish there were more greens and cheese and less melon.
Next, I tried the goat cheese, jamon, and fig jam sandwich (88 CZK). This I liked very much.
The high-quality crunchy roll was toasted. The few slices of ham looked like they came from a package at Tesco, but tasted OK. There were some rucola leaves. The round of goat cheese was smooth underneath. Nice sandwich.
I decided to be ambitious and order something from the grill. The salmon was unavailable, so I went for the pork neck or krkovice (148 CZK).
On the upside, it was thick and juicy and had some flavor from the grill. Some might like how lean it was, but it was tough and there was a lot of chewing. It's not so healthy, but I like my krkovice very fatty and tender.
It needed salt and pepper. I wouldn't have minded having a sauce on the side. Instead, it sat on a pile of rucola with plenty of balsamic vinegar. The leaves wilted a bit under the heat.
I've been pretty cavalier lately about taking pictures, thinking I fly below the radar. But it is starting to get noticed, especially if the manager is an international guy like Ozgur Maden, who is very familiar with Facebook and other media. At the end of the meal, I received a free lemonade.
I asked the waitress why, and she just shrugged and walked away. Anyway, it was lightly sweet with a bitter finish.
I paid 354 CZK for all of the above.
I made my next visit during evening hours when the tapas menu is available. I started with sangria (98 CZK).
It was lightly sweet and needed more tartness. This was remedied by squeezing some of the oranges in the glass. It also had apple slices.
I liked it a lot in the end -- very refreshing. On another visit, it was served in a different, larger-looking glass.
I liked the baba ghanoush (48 CZK). It was very fresh, almost chunky, with pine nuts, lemon, parsley, tahini, and olive oil.
However, I didn't detect any smoky flavor. On another visit, it was smoother, not quite as good, with less fresh parsley. However, I did not order it.
"The chef would like you to try it," the waitress said as she delivered it. Unless anyone else has been getting free stuff sent to the table, I'd say that my cover was blown.
Then I had the kofte (78 CZK).
The meatballs had good lamb flavor but were a bit overcooked. The minted yogurt on the side helped.
The zucchini pancakes were excellent (48 CZK).
I don't know if I was just lucky, but they were clearly just cooked -- hot, light, and fluffy. It comes with garlicky yogurt on the side. They were small, but a great snack.
Finally, I had the gambas (88 CZK). The small prawns were cooked just right. But the best part was the sauce.
It had a great tang to it and a light heat from red chilies. I was mopping it all up with my extra bread.
However, on another visit, the spice level from the chilies was much higher and it was too much for a tender-tongued friend.
The tab for this visit was 360 CZK.
Of course, I returned one more time to try the cheeseburger (148 CZK). It's quite large for the price, but is not really a classic American-style version.
The ground beef was mixed with onion, herbs, and spices. It had what looked like parsley in there. The bun had lots of mayo. I liked the caramelized onion. There was too much red lettuce. The burger was a mess to eat, but tasty. The steak fries were nice and crispy.
I hate to end on a sour note, but I had a problem with the ketchup that was brought to my table.
The bottle said "Heinz." However, the watery red sauce that poured so freely out of it said "cheap Czech stuff."
I know Heinz ketchup. Heinz ketchup is a friend of mine. This didn't taste like no Heinz ketchup. Even the label on the bottle was starting to fade from being handled too many times. This was a big sin and should cease immediately.
This new concept has been open more than a month. There were certainly problems with quality, consistency, and occasionally, the service at Bohe(my)a Lounge & Grill Bar.
Yet, there was enough that I liked, especially the location, that would bring me back. You are in the center of the city, and yet it is easy to forget that and go into outdoor lounge mode.
So, yeah, I'll probably climb way up to the top of the stairs again before the summer is over.
Bohe(my)a Lounge & Grill Bar
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