Having stayed at the Buddha-Bar hotel, Budapest in March and eaten at the restaurant on our first night, I was excited to see a Buddha-Bar in Prague and high expectations when we had a table booked. I’m glad to say it did meet expectations – and I have since found out there’s one in London!
You could be forgiven for missing this gem, it’s down one of the side streets and placed on the corner – but for the sign hanging high in the sky, you’d immediately walk past, in your haste of heading to the Old Town Centre. I’m glad we found it okay.
Like the Budapest branch, and the others in the franchise, Buddha-Bar is a high-end Asian fusion restaurant, specialising in sushi. The interior focuses heavily on Asian motifs, such as dragons and lettering. The colour scheme is largely red and black, with dimmed lighting courtesy of fringed lanterns – and there’s always a strong scent of incense. On both visits, I’ve found the ambience to be warm and welcoming – but as a side note, we weren’t seated in the main dining room this time round and instead, were on our own (but for two other couples joining us later on). At the time, I wondered if it was because we were tourists, or because we weren’t staying at the hotel. It didn’t bother me, it just meant the atmosphere wasn't as good as it could have been.
The cocktails are always very good and I began with the Jounetsutini, served in a martini glass and garnished with floating passion fruit. It was really strong, but refreshing and the tropical notes screamed Asia. It went down far too easily and I found myself constantly studying the menu in readiness for my second drink. The Eclipse was my next choice: a tall drink flavoured with raspberries and cranberries and garnished with a real rose. I’m not a fan of bourbon, but this was palatable.
To eat, I began with the green papaya Thai salad, a beautiful light and fresh salad made up of julienne papaya, carrot and pepper, with a sweet and spicy tom yum style dressing, garnished with ground peanuts, chilli and coriander. It was honestly divine and a great way to begin the meal, without getting too full. The vinaigrette was exactly what I was expecting, with strong hints of lime and chilli kick.
I always knew I’d have sushi for my main course – and was pleased to see some different options on the menu. There was so much choice from maki, to sashimi and the mixed platters were a great option as I didn’t know what to order. I’d love to return with a sushi lover, as a lot of the dishes can be purchased per piece or as a plate of 3/4/5/8 pieces, ideal for sharing – and then you can have a little taste of everything. Instead, I went for the 10 piece platter: an assortment of maki rolls. There were two of each variety which included Special California, Salmon Avocado, Rainbow New Style, Spicy Tuna and Shrimp Tempura. Rainbow rolls are my new favourite and these were the best I’ve had so far, although the shrimp tempura was definitely my favourite – after all, I love sushi and love tempura!
There’s no way I could have managed dessert, so settled on a green tea, which arrived in the most beautiful traditional china – seriously it rivalled some of the cups and saucers I’ve been served in London hotels and restaurants for afternoon tea.
I have to admit, I much preferred Buddha-Bar Budapest as I found the staff there a lot more friendly and endearing. The sushi this time round was a lot better, but I think that’s down to what I chose – it wasn’t as heavy or filling and fresher. If you’re yet to visit a Buddha-Bar and love sushi like me, I’d highly recommend visiting and I’m now desperate to go to the Knightsbridge restaurant.
Love, Lucy xx