I was tasked with finding a good, late night eatery in West Hampstead, London. Not well versed with the NW6 area I turned to my trusted friend Google.com and out pops the Czech Club Bar and Restaurant. Quite the fan of Eastern European food, and a strong believer in reviews (looser!) 4.5/5 is good enough for me, so I take the group there to see for myself. Potentially awesome food, local atmosphere, plus the boys will also be happy with the adjacent bar, serving Pilsner Urquell beer.
Standing outside a large townhouse, it may take a few moments to realise the Czechoslovak Restaurant and Bar are actually in the house – very welcoming. Walking down the front path there is a very peculiar chubby waiter statue (a little weathered now) and up the entrance stairs and we’re in!
The evening can only but be described as a surreal experience. Not in a bad way, but in a very unexpected way. The ‘dining room’ of the restaurant closely resembled what I would imagine dining with a Tsar several years ago would be like. Crystal chandeliers, grand fireplace, dark wallpapered walls full of character and regal looking portraits decorating the walls. But then… juxtaposed with paper-like tablecloths and “Keep Calm and Carry On” backed menus!
My favourite part of the evening! The food! Everyone’s food was absolutely gorgeous. The (slightly blurred) menu is full of traditional Czech dishes and bravo to the London based chef and the presentation/ flavours were spot on. Our party had the Wild Boar roast with creamy and cheesy sauce & dumplings, Segediner Gulash & dumplings (pork cooked with sauerkraut and double cream, spiced with red paprika), Duck Roast leg, boiled sauerkraut & dumplings and some Potato Pancakes to share (image below of ONE serving- huge!). All the above are highly recommended, but to get a full flavour of what you have to choose from, have a look at the Czech Club Restaurant’s official menu here. All the portions were of very good size and be warned, the accompanying dumplings (that look a little like slices of bread in the photos) are very filling.
The Czech Club Restaurant is a definite case of don’t judge a book by its cover. It hasn’t got crisp lights and finishings on the outside, in fact it doesn’t really look like a restaurant/ bar at all… the décor may seem a little dated or outlandish (whichever way you may look at it) and the lack of tablecloth may distract, but it’s all part of the authentic Czech experience. There is no pretentiousness about this place, the food is beyond glorious and staff overtly attentive! Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, homelike cooking and just one word of caution… when offered a herbal infused vodka shot to end your dinner… beware… it’s very, very strong – you have been warned! Fancy trying out the menu yourself? The restaurant can be found here:
Czech Club Restaurant, 74 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 2LX