No-menu restaurant named for cookbook pioneer opens in Prague

The carte-blanche menu concept and neon decor pay homage to Czechia's culinary past, present, and future under one bold new roof. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.07.2023 14:19:00 (updated on 16.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Helmed by the team from the Michelin-starred La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, a new concept restaurant, Marie B, has recently opened in Prague. Situated on Dlouhá Street in the heart of Old Town, Marie B's menu pays homage to the unsung culinary hero and author Marie B. Svobodová.

At Marie B, chef Jiří Šoura skillfully combines the best of traditional Czech cuisine with experimental flair, an approach that's in step with the restaurant's namesake Svobodová whose 1894 Kuchařská škola (Cooking School) features intriguing dishes like turtle soup and fried watermelon.

Originally released as a series of newspaper columns, the book slices through a wide swath of ingredients and techniques, from dairy and fats to spices and meat, fish, and vegetables. Though it's over 150 years old, Kuchařská škola was ahead of its time, packed with culinary explainers and menu-creation tips as well as a section on waste-free cooking.

Fittingly, a recent reissue of Svobodová's tasty tome includes a foreword by Oldřich Sahajdák, the chef at La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise.

Marie B carries on the culinary innovator's legacy by offering Czech recipes with a twist, changing its menu based on available ingredients, and serving four-course lunches and dinners in a carte blanche format. (In a restaurant setting ”carte blanche” means giving the chef free rein to serve you what he or she wishes relying on what's fresh at the moment).

Marie B culinary team
Marie B culinary team

The restaurant is housed in the historic U Zeleného Stromu building, which has been historically owned by the city's Jewish community and awaiting renovation for more than three decades. At Marie B, the original vault and walls have been preserved, keeping their beautiful patina intact, while the furniture fits harmoniously within the existing space, avoiding any disturbance to the vault and walls.

The result is an unconventional interior that respects the building's history while incorporating modern elements.

The restaurant is adorned with artworks by Berlin artist Anselm Reyle, known for his multimedia installations, sculptures, and neon lights. Two artworks made from fabric remnants and neon lights are also on display, adding a bold contemporary touch to the yet-unreconstructed building.

Photo via Marie B
Photo via Marie B

Zdeněk Oudes, head sommelier from La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, will oversee the wine selection at Marie B and the Vin de Marie wine shop in the neighboring space. During the day, patrons can purchase wine to take home or enjoy on-site, and in the evening, the wine shop connects with the restaurant.

Chef Šoura said of the Marie B concept, "Carte blanche provides an enjoyable experience for our guests. They relish the excellent food and have fun guessing whether it's pork or beef they just tasted."

He adds that the concept presents endless creative opportunities for the kitchen, fostering creativity and allowing Marie B's staff to make the most of all of its ingredients.

"With no fixed menu, we have the freedom to alter our offerings within hours and experiment with a variety of choices," said Chef Šoura.

Marie B is open from Monday–Sunday, 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. The set price for the menu is CZK 1,600, a wine pairing is CZK 1,300. Reservations are now being accepted.

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