A wintry palette of silver, white, and warm wood characterises the Eska Restaurant space in Prague. There are even little pops of cherry red, if you look close enough. The kitchen is open, with the gleam of industrial vents and rigorously scrubbed counter space visible to the paying punters. Grey ceramic light fixtures dangle from the ceiling above long family-style tables, with simple yet sleek stools pulled up underneath. Elsewhere, the white-painted metal struts and beams soar over wooden two-tops. Blackboards list the day’s offerings and the happy chatter of guests, both dining in and stopping by to grab a loaf of bread from the bakery, provides a welcoming backdrop.
All told, it’s a winning combination. And that’s before you even get to the business at hand – eating. Eska bakes delicious bread made with local rye and wheat flours, as well as a whole host of finger-licking pastries. They also stock, in the shop side, a wallet-tempting selection of farm-fresh delicacies. Upstairs in the restaurant, meanwhile, they offer a selection of menus, depending on the time of day. For breakfast, there’s everything from spelt granola with carrot, cardamom, raisins, and buttermilk to scrambled eggs with chives. Lunchtime could be a dish of fermented red wheat, Jerusalem artichoke, coffee, and kefir or a pork chop with cabbage, apples, and horseradish. And at dinner, the selection expands, including a chef’s choice tasting menu and delectable dishes like grilled catfish, jerusalem artichokes, elderflower and whey, and smoked beef tartare, shallots, wild garlic, and grilled bread.
At Eska, traditional cooking methods – curing, fermenting, smoking, et al – are de rigeur, and interesting flavour combinations rule the day. Dessert, for example, features not just grilled plums, blue cheese, and hazelnuts, a combination which delights with its playful mix of sweet, creamy nuttiness, but the almost sublime simpleness of farmer´s milk ice cream with honey, caramel, and chamomile as well. To say it’s delicious would be an understatement.