I don’t know where to begin with this review. It isn’t really a review I suppose. More of an homage. I have nothing to say about St. Martin’s which isn’t just a sickening amount of praise across all the aspects from food to service and price. So, forgive me for my ramblings.
Tucked away in a cobbled street, far beneath Prague’s castle and close to many nations’ embassies is St. Martin’s. The outer, painted white with a simple sign to the point of unremarkable belies what’s inside, proving the age old adage true.
Inside on a weekday lunch, we were quickly seated in a half full room. Tastefully decorated it feels more like a studio than a restaurant as we peruse the menu. To start, tomato soup; and it is a tomato soup unlike any I have had before. Beautifully presented in a jar it is lip-smackingly good transporting both me and the better half to fields of tomato vines picked just as the season begins to wane. Punctuated with fresh basil and generous seasoning I was left dumbfounded by how good soup can be.
This was quickly followed by a dish that will always be imprinted in my memory in the same manner a West Country kid such as myself remembers their first sip of warm cider in a cold field at a tender- and underage-age; confit pork belly with steamed buns. Cooked slowly, this beautifully wobbly pork was in a spicy concoction mid-way between char siu and hoi-sin, and barely needed any chewing to aid consumption of such a glorious feat. Combined with the fluffy, white steamed buns which were perfectly spherical, a balance was found in the dish to the utter satisfaction akin to when one manages to insert a usb stick correctly the first time round. Fresh chillies and coriander vied for attention on the palate too, providing a zing and burst of heat at the back of the throat.
It was the dessert here however, which took my breath away, and then quickly gave it back so I might consume something utterly glorious. The cheesecake. A caramel and chocolate cheesecake. Its presentation, as pictured, was both playful and utilitarian. There aren’t many places one can spill cheesecake if it’s served in a pot. Beautiful layers of cheesecake were separated with thin spreads of a delicious chocolate crumb. I could’ve been handed a pot which could hold the North Sea and I still would’ve been disappointed at how quickly I would have finished this cheesecake. Each spoonful was a culinary melody invoking one of those involuntary happy food dances in my soul and eventually my person, as I shimmied shoulders in delight at having found this place.
The service here was attentive, prompt and friendly- we didn’t feel watched or unwanted. Perfect. This meal was so good we visited again even though we were only in Prague for three days. At the time of writing all of the above was a measly £16. The most incredible value for money meal I think we’ve ever had; and I include the ones where we’ve not paid.