The outside temperature was down to about two degrees by seven o'clock. We left our apartment, coated and hatted and scarved, to walk a hundred metres under a black moonless sky to Sasha’s Restaurant and Bar, which took all of a minute. Once inside, we removed our coats and hats and scarves and hung them on the rack, which probably took two minutes. Then we sat down and read the menu.
Sasha is Czech and specialises in his homeland's cuisine. I chose the roasted pork knuckle 'Prague-style' with potato pikelets, red cabbage and horseradish. The 'knuckle' was about the size of a lamb shank and the meat had been roasted so long it almost melted on the fork. The potato pikelets were lightly fried and infused with spices and flecked with bacon. The whole thing was on a bed of glorious mash over which flowed, like the river Vltava, delicious smoky-roasty juices. I just about stood and applauded when the waiter came to take the plate away but I was able to restrain myself.
T. chose the goulash which was rich and pepper-sweet and was served with deliciously light dumplings which were dotted with shreds of speck. Another round of applause. Someone at an adjacent table had kassler which was fanned out on the plate and surrounded by potatoes and topped with a delicious-looking gravy. Sometimes you find a place where you'd like to eat your way through the menu every night for however long it would take. This was one.
Dessert was apple strudel, which is often a cliche, like when it is served at fake German-themed restaurants in the Dandenongs; but is a genuine delight when made properly. As it was - dense with apple and nuts and dried fruit and proper pastry and real cream. After that, a nice short, sharp, sweet coffee and the last drops of the nectar that came from a bottle of Ingoldby cabernet.
We put our coats and hats and scarves back on and walked back to our apartment under a black sky dotted with hard white cold radiant stars. We slept well. I dreamt of Prague. I don't know why. I've never been there.