After opening Sansho in Prague in 2011 the locally transplanted chef, who stirred the local top quality grass-fed meat craze, has grown his food business in Prague by another eatery Maso a Kobliha and a boutique butcher’s shop (The Real Meat Society) planted off the tourist paths near the National Theatre. Paul Day is not only a chef but also a butcher so rest assured that you are getting the best meat available in Prague on your plate. The Englishman worked everywhere from London’s China town to Nobu at the Metropolitan hotel where he developed his passion for Asian food.
The atmosphere at Sansho is ultra casual, the communist Prague meets a contemporary casual pop-up. Bare interior equipped only with simple wood tables and some retro design accessories such as a coat hanger. The open kitchen concept connects the diners with the cooks. Simmering, bubbling and sizzling brings an authentic acoustic to the restaurant. The staff is off-beat and relaxed. Wear jeans and sneakers and you will fit in.
The food at Sansho is honest, tasty and creative. There is no menu, but some staples have got to be served regularly over the years, and a la carte is served during lunch. The plates mostly change seasonally and even daily according to the local availability of ingredients and the chef’s mood. Sourcing directly from Czech farmers and the superb Vietnamese markets around Prague, using the entire animal, and option to choose from meat, fish or vegetarian menu make eating at Sansho exciting. Sharing plate style though calls for a diplomatic approach with your dining partners. Check the board outside the restaurant for daily specials before venturing in. Reservations are essential.
We usually order the tasting menu as it is a great value for money and it shows off the chef’s cooking skills at their best. Starting with New Style Salmon Sashimi, a tribute to the chef’s stage at the London’s Nobu, always assures me that high quality ingredients are the priority at Sansho. The fish is delicate, oil-based sauce refreshing and the white sesame seeds add depth and balance the salmon. If you do not order the tasting menu I highly recommend starting with this lightly seared Nobu style dish.
Crunchy Sansho Fritto Misto of fried and breaded seafood on a bed of mixed salad brings fish and chips to mind.
The crunchy and juicy Soft Shell Crab Slider tastes heavenly! The fried crab carcass sticking out from the delicate bao bun moistened with a tasty mayonnaise and crispy raw veggies waits for your generous bite. The Chinese and by Nobu inspire cuisine of these bao calls for a pint of Czech beer or a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.
Vegetarians will appreciate the delicious Okra tofu sambal of a crisp tofu with green okra and fried onions. The tofu is deep fried to perfection so you may not recognise this soybean, Asian vegan version of cheese in it. The crunchy okra adds bitter touch, cucumbers with fresh spring onions zest and the fried onions a yummy depth. Vegetarian tasting menu can be ordered ahead.
The first nose to tail dining in Prague
The only dish I found boring was Rabbit with Wild Green Jungle Curry. It was very bland for all five of us, despite having different taste preferences. The Czech version of a rabbit in a cream sauce is much better.
Fatty meat lovers will love the Pork Belly with Water Melon and hoisin. It is made with juicy & fatty Czech rare breed Prestik pig. I can imagine Chinese diners indulging in this plate. The sweet watermelon is an original juicy partner to the pork belly and the hoisin sauce typical for dick dishes in China adds richness.
The Mini Burgers of Beef and Pork were an absolute hit at our table. Succulent and mouth filling. These were one of the best mini burgers I have ever had. With the exception of those mind-blowing ‘miniperfections’ by the three Michelin Joël Robuchon.
Our go back to favourite at Sansho is the Twelve hour baked beef rendang. This tender cooked beef delicacy is made with Czech dry hanged organic Aberdeen Angus and served either with rice or home-made roti bread. I prefer the pancake-like Indian roti with the grass-fed beef. I cannot eat at Sansho and not having it, so I off set my carbon footprint weeks ahead. Lamb version is also served as Lamb penang, roti, rice & greens.
If you have space left for desserts then you will move across the pond west, far away from the shores of Asia. The deserts are inspired by the ultra-indulgent and rich American sweets.
I liked the most the Sticky Toffee Pudding, very rich and intense, but deliciously refreshed by melting ice cream. The Cheesecake is nice, but the super sweet caramel sauce on top was just a step too much. Cosy feeling were the Warm Chocolate Cookies with ice cream. Like a sweet burger or a snadwich, the cookies held the ice cream in between.
A cup of tea is a perfect balancing match to these intense sweets.
The wine list covers Europe, New Zealand and South America. The Czech wines are worth exploring though. We had an excellent and light Pinot Noir by Gala from the Morava region. The juicy strawberry and refreshing lightness of this Pinot promise a great bargain when compared to the red Burgundies on the list. The more intense red Italian wines are great with the pork as well as with the powerful deserts if tea is not what you want.
Cuisine: Pan-asian swinging far West – from Japanese and Indonesian to American on the desserts menu.
Visits: September 2011-2016
Price: A six-course tasting dinner menu from 900 CZK per person is a bargain as it includes lots of food. What I like about Sansho is that they source local water. A jug of filtered water with refreshing cucumber and mint costs on 10 CZK (about US$0.50).
Tuesday-Friday lunch: 11am-3pm; dinner: 6pm-11pm; Saturday only for dinner 6pm-11pm; closed on Monday and Sunday.
Petrská 1170/25, 110 00 Prague 1-Nové Město, Czech Republic
+420 222 317 425