Tearoom: Peklo, Nebe, Ráj

Heaven, or just hell?

Helen Ford

Written by Helen Ford Published on 26.07.2012 15:29:26 (updated on 26.07.2012) Reading time: 3 minutes


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I pottered about outside Peklo, Nebe, Ráj (“Heaven, Hell, Paradise”) when I visited, unsure of whether it was actually open or if it had been closed down indefinitely. Despite it being a beautiful summer’s day, the door (with broken glass window) was shut tight, curtains and blinds were drawn, and metal shutters remained pulled down in front of the dirty windows. It was not inviting.

After tentatively pushing the door and realising that the čajovna was open for business, I stepped inside and surveyed the front room. A faded navy carpet, red and yellow walls, mismatched furniture and a massive oriental fan on one wall would all have been much more inviting with the curtains opened and a good bit of elbow grease. It was gloomy and dark, and potentially the grubbiest place I have ever visited. Perched on the edge of a leather sofa in a little ‘den’ in the front room, I noticed that every corner of the front window was covered in cobwebs.  The table was covered in dust. As I waited for a menu I just concentrated on trying not to touch anything. 

On further inspection, the separate back room was much more appealing – painted light blue and featuring a huge image of cherry blossom across one wall, it felt fresher and was far cleaner. It’s clear that this room is intended to be ‘heaven’ against the former ‘hell’, but to the customer it is just inexplicable that the main area that greets every visitor remains so unattractive.

When the menu (available in Czech and English, on request) arrived I was, given my initial impression, surprised to see an extensive tea menu with really helpful tasting notes, as well as a decent coffee menu with seven different blends available (from 25 CZK). Food is also on offer, including some traditional čajovny dishes such as hummus and baba ganoush, and some less traditional, including pizza (59 CZK) and raclette (115 CZK). Snacks including nuts and seeds (from 30 CZK), olives (30 CZK), and toasties (45 CZK) are also available.
Service appeared frustratingly slow, until I noticed a small set of LEDs and buttons mounted on the wall next to me. This electric bell contraption allows the user to request service or the bill.  Once I requested service in the house fashion, it was prompt and obliging.

The Tie Guan Yin King Oolong tea (89 CZK, with additional water for multiple infusions) had a lovely soft taste, similar to a green tea but without the astringency. It was served in a pretty blue and white china teapot with matching cup. Unfortunately, the spout was chipped, which added to the already dingy, careless feel.
I also tried some hummus (59 CZK), which came with pita and was garnished with olives. Care had been taken over the presentation, but the taste was slightly bland.

Čajovny do tend to be ‘hippified’, low-key places. Tea rooms such as Dobrá čajovna and Čajovna Ve věži are cases in point: both venues are relaxed and a little rough around the edges, but still places to enjoy a cup of quality tea. In my opinion, Peklo, Nebe, Ráj goes far too far down the ‘rough’ road. The core ingredients (tea and service) are on the right track, but black cobwebs on windows and chipped crockery detract from this and scream ‘unloved’. A spring clean would do wonders for Peklo, Nebe, Ráj, but until that is complete I would not return.

Peklo, Nebe, Ráj
Heřmanova 42 (tram stop Kamenická)
Praha 7

Tearoom: Peklo, Nebe, Ráj

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