A whole kilo of MEAT

The Robster and I went to Prague for the weekend, and we spent some time looking at pretty buildings and fannying around in the snow before getting down to the real business at hand: beer. Much of this splendid substance was consumed, generally biased towards the dark and chewy end of the continuum (rather than girly lager which you can get anywhere), and including samples of Velkopopovicky, Staropramen Granat, Gambrinus and Krusovice, costing on average about 40 pence a pint.

On our last night there we went to the highly-recommended Pivovarsky Dum, or “House of Beer”, which any sane person would surely agree is a fine name for a pub. A bit out of the way from the bright lights and UV theatre shows of the centre of town, its clientele consists of moderately-clued-up tourists as well as hefty local chaps out to do some serious damage to their livers. A splendid feature of the place is that you can order a zirafa (giraffe) of your chosen beer: this is a long 4-litre glass tube set in a shiny brass foot with a tap, and sits on your table preventing you from realising how pissed you are until you get up to go to the toilet.

Available to mop up the exciting microbrews (including banana lager and a nice sour cherry beer which is a lot more subtle than yr Mort Subite kriek and all that gubbins) is a fairly extensive menu. Now, Czech cuisine really does not muck about, one good reason for visiting in winter being that you need healthy walking around in the cold to burn off the damned food. Potatoes prepared in stomach-leadening portions coupled with big hunks of beast-flesh are de rigeur, and the Dum wasn?t noticeably bucking the trend the night we were there. A couple of half-litres gone, we ventured upon rabbit with spaetzles (err, Czech gnocchi?) and potato dumplings stuffed with roast pork and accompanied by sauerkraut, all of which was very nice, especially the sight of several pathetic rabbit leg bones lying desolate on a plate after finishing. We thought ourselves pretty hearty after encompassing this lot, but as the evening wore on we noticed a growing proportion of gentlemen tucking into enormous plates supporting what, according to the menu, were individual 1kg joints of pork, accompanied only by small lakes of horseradish and mustard. Atkins-tastic. We sipped a couple of digestif shots of slivovice (alarming plum brandy) to untwist our melons, then headed off into the snow to pack our bags.