WITHOUT his boarding pass, our photographer was denied entry.
photo: Ján Svrček
Where: Dobrovičova 8, Bratislava
Open: Monday to Friday, 9:00-23:00, food served until 18:00
English menu: No
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
ONCE an internet café and located in one of Bratislava's new construction projects, Prestige tries to generate a contemporary atmosphere in fitting with its name. As a result, the pomp and heaviness we associate with old-time prestige are replaced by light and space.
Perhaps the restaurant's nicest feature is its very open kitchen. Only a counter separates those on the ground floor from the cooks, their stoves, and the microwaves. This aesthetically pleasing workstation is tucked under the restaurant's stairs and balcony, which curve around the edge of the room, and its sounds and smells reach every guest.
Though Prestige is large, open, and employs plenty of glass, the tables feel private. On the ground floor and stairs, smoked glass and dividers separate the booths. Up above, the balcony is too wide for visitors to peep over the railing.
The result of all this glass, and the steel frames that accompany it, is a futuristic look. Perhaps aided by the display of an airplane turbine visible in the lobby of the accompanying building, those who come for coffee might have the feeling they were killing time in tomorrow's spaceport.
On second glance, the restaurant's plastic furniture is suspiciously reminiscent of Ikea. Indeed, some booths sport a green-tiled wall that matches one of the walk-in kitchen dioramas in said retailer's strange museum-like showroom.
Prestige has a bit of the museum in it as well. It is currently exhibiting a collection predominantly made up of large oil paintings. These sometimes create abstract patterned textures, while in others the artist approximates computer-generated images like fractals and spirals in garish rainbow colours.
The menu is very slim, with only three items to most sections. Prices for entrees range from Sk120 to about Sk240. A daily menu is also offered, and this must take the chef's primary attention. The kitchen's early hours, which more or less confine Prestige to the status of a lunch restaurant, are probably determined by the availability of the daily menu - when it sells out, the kitchen closes up shop.
From the fish menu, diners have a choice of salmon, pike, or trout. Then, in the way of poultry, sesame seeds rule two of the dishes - sesame chicken with pasta or fried chicken fingers with the seeds. Upon investigation, we found that the latter comprised good tender meat and was accompanied by a honey mustard sauce in which the mustard was subtle - very very subtle. A side of rough-cut American french-fries won the admiration of my English companion.
From the heavier meats, there is a house steak as well as a steak in a dark mushroom sauce. The stand out pork dish comes stuffed with olives.
Vegetarians are confined to the pasta menu and choose between pasta in tomato-basil sauce or fried spinach balls in a cheese-cream sauce. The latter is a pleasant collection of four oversized green gnocchi-like dumplings in not-overwhelming sauce jazzed up with a few herbs. A mixed salad provides good counterbalance.
For desert, hazelnut and sweet-cheese cakes accompany the usual pancakes.
I wouldn't mind having a bite to eat here while waiting for my shuttle to launch. But Prestige's trim menu, though decent, loses points as a spot for repeated visits, and the plastic chairs, perhaps designed to keep people from relaxing so much they miss their outer space flights, are not that comfortable.
15. Mar 2004 at 0:00 | Eric Smillie