We love to travel. For food. Whenever we are, we try to splash out on a dinner in a Michelin-star restaurant and put it in our plans to get a glimpse at the fine dining scene of our destination. And because we write for people who are like us and who like similar things, we paid a visit to Alcron, one of the two restaurants with a Michelin star in Prague. We visited the other one, La Degustation, a few months ago. You can read about our visit here.
We must admit that Alcron had to put extra effort into winning us over. You see, we are a bit sceptical of hotel restaurants. They often feel less personal to us. Besides that, we do like the other Michelin-star restaurant in Prague, La Degustation, and knew that Alcron had a different focus and offered a different experience. That said, we were really eager to see what Alcron had to offer: it has always been synonymous with haute cuisine in Prague. Saying “tastes like something from Alcron” has always meant something special.
So how was our dinner? We went through the lobby of the Radisson hotel and were greeted by the restaurant’s really nice staff who took care of our coats and lead us to the table. The restaurant is really tiny and sits barely 25 people. The painting on the wall evokes a 1930s bar and inspires a sense of luxury. That is if you sit on the right side and look at the painted wall. If you sit on the wrong side, you look at stained glass that separates you from the hotel guests in the lobby waiting for the elevator and talking about their travel plans. This really eroded the luxurious feel of the restaurant. We could not help but think it would have been much better to look into the kitchen rather than into the lobby. There is absolutely no connection between the room and the kitchen, which is a shame, especially in such a small room.
The waiting staff was very nice and helpful, polite and professional. We like a bit of attitude and personality, but that’s just us. Overall, we were really happy with the service.
Alcron’s menu has two versions: one with prices for men, and one without the prices for women. At least that’s how the menus were given to us. That is absolutely in line with how we see Alcron: traditionalist, and with a big focus on etiquette. The restaurant has no set menu but lets you set up your own from their entrees, mains and desserts. It would have been nice to have at least one set menu. We like that because we always trust the kitchen’s suggestions.
We chose three and four courses each, picking different dishes so that we could share and taste as many as possible. We only ordered one wine by glass as we visited Alcron in the middle of our drinking week, but you can order wine pairing, of course.
We were offered breads by Mansson bakery and a wonderful selection of tasty butters. We loved those, especially the butter with smoked salt or yuzu. We had to admire the presentation of the dishes: they all looked absolutely stunning and clearly required surgical precision. We were afraid to touch some of the dishes not to spoil the visuals. If the lighting was better, the pictures would tell the whole story.
The cooking at Alcron could be best described as a French-inspired Michelin-star affair, with the usual suspects on the menu. We will not list all the dishes we ordered: just the list of the ingredients used would take up a whole page. We will just describe our general feeling about the food we had.
The execution of the dishes is perfect. Everything was perfectly cooked, everything was cut to precision. That said, we lacked an element of surprise. We’re in a bit of a pickle here: while it is really hard to criticize anything we ordered because it was all so well prepared, we did miss some excitement. We always measure a meal by how memorable the dishes were. Will we remember at least one dish a month later? If so, the dinner was a success. Out of our dinner at Alcron, we can best remember the butters.
Despite the fact that the other Michelin-star restaurant in Prague, La Degustation, is an entirely different restaurant with an entirely different concept, it is really hard not to compare the two. What we missed in Alcron is any focus on local ingredients or on seasonality. All the dishes seemed to be first and foremost safe bets that would please most diners. If you were blindfolded and hijacked to a dinner at Alcron (lucky you), you would not have known from the food that you were in Prague.
Although all the dishes were perfectly prepared and cooked, we will not be rushing back. Still, Alcron is worth a recommendation… and its Michelin star. We would recommend Alcron to people who look for perfection, fantastic service, and dishes within their comfort zone. It is for diners who do not strive to taste beef tongue, cod stomachs or bread ice-cream. It is for diners who want the food they know, and they want it done perfectly. Nothing wrong with that. For all the others, there is still La Degustation.