24 Feb 2012

Modernity with a concept


Nota Bene, a new restaurant near I.P. Pavlova, is a very modern and hip non-smoking place. It's evident that a lot of work has been put on designing the interiors, but the style, which I unilaterally call "Scandinavian", gives it a bit of a human touch. The music they play is of the inoffensive kind, though if you pay a bit of attention you'll be able to listen to gems like Sly & The Family Stone or a lesser known song by James Brown. Even when it is empty you can imagine the young, modern, hip crowd that could fill it in the evenings. You know, the kind where the boys wear their jeans halfway down their asses (really, is there a more stupid fashion that that?) and the girls, well, I never pay too much attention to what the girls wear, I look at other things.

This is the kind of place that only a couple of years ago would have served fajitas, hamburgers, Ceasar Salad, Tzatziki (even in winter, of course) and something Italian or Fusion, which you could have washed down with Stella Artois, Hoegaarden or Leffe, because that would have been modern then. Not anymore, it seems.

Nota Bene doesn't have a menu in the usual sense. According to the owners, all the ingredients are sourced locally from small producers and farmers and the daily offer is based on what they've been able to get. Beer, of course, reflects this approach. Instead of a pseudo-belgian lager brewed in Prague the Brazilian way, and a couple more imported brands, there are six taps that pour stuff from small Czech brewers. Two of them are stuck with the outstanding Únětice 10° and 12° and at the remaining four you can see names like Matuška, Třebonice, Strahov o Kocour, among others. In other words, some of the most modern names in the current Czech brewing scene.
Photo: Nota-Bene
I've been twice to this restaurant, once for lunch and the other for an afternoon snack. In both cases the food, though not memorable, was far from disappointing. The service was almost flawless, very professional, very modern, and the most important thing, the beers, were in tip top shape. But the best of all was that the guy waiting the tables during both visits knew very well what he was serving and was able to recommend and talk about the beers, and he liked them! In my second visit when a keg with a new beer was tapped he took a sample from it, tasted it, approved it and was followed by one of the cooks who repeated the ritual. It was something really nice to watch.

Nota Bene is a modern place that doesn't follow a fad. There's not denying that beer list wouldn't be so interesting without the success of the čtvrtá pípa and the multi-tap pubs, but you can also see that this restaurant has a concept and the beer model was chosen not only because of its popularity, but also because is the one that best fits into this concept.

I won't lie to you, I doubt I will ever become a regular of Nota-Bene. However, I still hope it will be successful, I want it to do great, not only because behind it there seems to be people who really want to do things well, but also because I want its concept, beers included, to catch the attention of people in the restaurant business who will see it as something worth copying or even taken to a new level. I hope Nota-Bene is the beginning of a new trend.

Na Zdraví!

Nota Bene - Restaurant & Beer Point
50°4'35.007"N, 14°25'50.815"E
Mikovcova 4 - Prague 2
+420 777 251 449
Mon-Fri: 11-23, Sat: 12-23

Choose a Hotel in Prague in the city centre.

2 comments:

  1. Based on your recommendation I gave this place a try and was not disappointed. It's a clean, modern, classy in a very casual kind of way place, and the service was excellent-relaxed, friendly and efficient. Like you said, the beer list is short but the choices are excellent. Only good stuff and in perfect condition. It's a nice alternative if you're a bit tired of your same ol' same ol' places. Plus, the location is very convenient, you can pass by often! LOL

    JKAnPRG

    ReplyDelete