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NOT OUR PICK

Starobrno needs to learn some old tricks

Tucked in a passageway on Michalská 3 is one of the old town's newest restaurants, Starobrno - or Old Brno. For all of its comfortable surroundings, exhibition kitchen and cellar seating, it has some new things to learn - how to prepare food. The highlight of Starobrno's menu are its two draft beers not often found in Bratislava - Starobrno and Měšťan - the latter being a stout, not as sweet as a Guinness, and refreshing. Also interesting are the offerings of iced tea and hot spiced mulled wine. Otherwise the menu is typical Slovak cuisine.
However, when the food arrived, it was clear that the kitchen needs some basic help. The garlic soup and Moravian onion were both lukewarm and had soggy bread chunks thrown in. It was a pity, both had good broth and the garlic had a bite to it that could cure any disease. Starobrno offers half portions and child's sizes to suit your style.

Address: Michalska 3
Tel.: 536-1114
Hours: Daily, 11:00-23:00
Cuisine:Czech, Slovak
Prices: Sk Sk
Reservations:Accepted
English menu: Yes (German)
Credit Cards: No
Recommended:Not by us!


Tucked in a passageway on Michalská 3 is one of the old town's newest restaurants, Starobrno - or Old Brno. For all of its comfortable surroundings, exhibition kitchen and cellar seating, it has some new things to learn - how to prepare food. The highlight of Starobrno's menu are its two draft beers not often found in Bratislava - Starobrno and Měšťan - the latter being a stout, not as sweet as a Guinness, and refreshing. Also interesting are the offerings of iced tea and hot spiced mulled wine. Otherwise the menu is typical Slovak cuisine.

However, when the food arrived, it was clear that the kitchen needs some basic help. The garlic soup and Moravian onion were both lukewarm and had soggy bread chunks thrown in. It was a pity, both had good broth and the garlic had a bite to it that could cure any disease. Starobrno offers half portions and child's sizes to suit your style. This was not necessary as the 200 grams of Steak Filet "Opera" (with red wine and green beans, at least according to the menu, but in reality looked more of a dirty yellow color) appeared hardly to be more than 100 grams; tasteless, chewy and with both the meat and vegetables heavily overcooked.

The spinach side dish was creamy, and dare we say - ample. The same can be said for the dill sauce, although it was a major sodium fix. This we poured over broccoli and cauliflower, both of which were overdone. Our guess is that both vegatables were simply thawed, not fresh.

Starobrno seems to like horseradish - it shows up in many dishes: Starobrno Filet (with garlic and horseradish); Dragon of Brno (horseradish and catsup); Brno gulaš; and roasted pork knuckles with mustard and horseradish. If you have sinus problems, come try one of these dishes to clear them out!

The menu is lacking in vegetarian dishes, although it does include the standard fried cheese, fried mushrooms, and English vegetables.

Since Starobrno only opened on February 6, 1997, we believe it has some growing pains to go through. Perhaps in time it will recognize its kitchen problems and correct them. We also urge that the staff table in front of the bar be returned as part of the bar; a concentrated effort be made on the timing of the food delivery; and to retrain the staff in waiting on tables. For now, try the beers and skip the food. This is based on our one and only visit. Normally we don't like to comment without at least two visits, but we think it will be a while before we are encouraged to return.

For the record, dinner for two including two beers and a bottle of Müller Thurgau, cost 474 Sk. Again there was an annoying cover charge of 8 Sk per person for bread, which you clearly don't need if you order the soup! Our guest return reviewers are Michel Litt and Graham Wood. Though each have their own prejudices - one won''t eat animal meat, the other won't touch anything containing refined sugar - they are well equipped to be judges, having dined at many restaurants for over a year.

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