From Our Foreign Curryspondent ... Dateline: Prague!

(The TATTGOC brotherhood extends around the globe, and we welcome reports of curry expeditions beyond Glasgow – here, co-founder The Tramp is joined by missing-in-action stalwart, and yet to be officially named, curry comrade The Mighty Flemado, as they Czech out the naans in one of Prague's premier curry houses.)

REVIEW: The Mailsi in Prague

Your Foreign Curryspondent: The Tramp

The Date: 11 April 2009

Booking Name: No reservation was made

The Pub Aforehand: Too numerous to remember - there seem to be a lot of photos of us drinking in the main square that day though

In Attendance: The Tramp, The Mighty Flemado

Decor: A surprisingly cosy and modern basement setup with a heavy red and green fixation. Fishtanks embedded into the walls were a nice touch, as were the velvetine paintings.

Expectations: Expectations were running high, some research had been conducted prior to the trip and the ex-pats online were all pointing to the Mailsi as being a strong contender for top curry house in the city.

The Experience: It was a very sad day for The Tramp when The Mighty Flemado took off to seek fame and fortune (well, not exactly fame and fortune but a career boost) on the mean streets of South London. Since he made the move south we've not been able to catch up anywhere near as much as we'd like but when we have then a curry is often on the agenda, whether it's chowing down on some of the Shish Mahal's peerless Hasina Lamb Chops or venturing into one of South London's authentic Sri Lankan bad boy curry houses (one day I'll tell the tale of the terrifying encounter with my curry arch-nemesis, The Everest Curry King, who was introduced to me by Flemado.) So when we decided to catch up, relax and sample a lot of Czech beer, there had to be curry on the menu at some point in the proceedings.

I'd done my research prior to flying out to Prague and had set the curry cannon's sights firmly on The Mailsi Pakistani Restaurant on Lipanska, word on the internet was that it was home to the best curry in Prague and offered an authentic experience familiar to those spoiled by the top notch curry houses we take for granted in the UK.

Arriving on the Thursday we promptly set about drinking our combined weights of the local beer in various drinking establishments - our favourite being U Zlateho Tygra (The Golden Tiger) which served the most amazingly fresh, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell ever tasted - and by the end of Friday night we decided that Saturday should be a day of culture which we would top off with a visit to the Mailsi. The next day certainly did contain a hefty cultural element but played out like a demented chapter from the mind of Hunter S Thompson. Without going into the details too much the day included an awesome journey on an old school train, a trip to the Sedlec Ossuary (decorated with the skeletons of approximately 60,000 plague victims), a chance to marvel at the state-of-the-art fairground rides currently enthralling Czech children, quite a lot of ice cold lager, a chance encounter with the real Saxman (actually branded The Sax Hoodlum by us) and the baffling sight of a small child taking a rabbit for a walk, on a lead, round the back streets of the old town (that might have been a hallucination brought on by the unpasteurised beer though.)

After a full on day it was finally time to negotiate the tram system and head a bit out of the centre of town in search of The Mailsi... Our first thoughts were whether we were about to fall into some kind of trap - the street didn't look or feel like it should have a restaurant in it but sure enough, just up a little hill, there it was. First impressions were good from the outside and once we stepped inside the restaurant turned out to be a surprisingly snug basement set up with an awesome back lit bar and a heavy red and green vibe for the decor. Unlike our usual curry club venues back home there were a good few tables occupied when we arrived, another good sign - but the crowd didn't stay long. Like a pair of villainous strangers walking into a saloon in an old western we managed to clear the place and by the time we'd looked over the menus and ordered up a beer (Krusovice on tap but Kingfisher available) the place had cleared, leaving us the only customers remaining. The waiter was rather dour to begin with and was presenting himself as a bit of a badass (probably because we'd scared away all the customers.) There didn't appear to be any communication problems and the ordering process was going swimmingly until the waiter pulled off an amazing Derren Brown style Jedi mind trick on The Mighty Flemado. Although trying to order a Karahi, and repeatedly stating so, the waiter somehow used the power of suggestion to get him to agree to a Balti. Although we were both initially confused by the clear mentalist powers of the waiter he lightened up a lot as the meal progressed and by the end of the meal it was agreed that he was generally awesome. So, to the food.

To start with we opted for the traditional plate o' poppadoms with raita, mango chutney and lime pickle. You can't really go wrong there, and sure enough everything was top notch - extra points being awarded for a particularly fine decorative condiment rack. Having polished off the poppadoms our waiter brought over a hotplate to keep our upcoming food warm while we ate - a nice touch but one that might prove dangerous at the more boisterous of the regular curry club outings. Next up was a shared mix pakora platter which proved to be different to the pakora that we're used to back in Glasgow. The pakora served in Mailsi was more akin to the bastard child of the traditional Scottish fritter and Japanese tempura, comprising slices of potato and onion rings coated in a thin spicy batter and deep fried. Although different they were most enjoyable.

For the main course we opted for butter lamb tikka, chicken tikka balti (as opposed to the Karahi that was initially intended), basmati rice and a garlic naan. Both curries were excellent and would have rated highly compared to many of the curries experienced at regular curry club meetings. The naan was a major disappointment, however, and very different to what we are used to calling a naan back in the UK. Although tasty enough, the naan was more of a thin flat bread, somewhere along the lines of a chapati, and certainly not the glorious tandoor puffed treat that we all know and love. Still, that was the only downside to an otherwise great meal.

While we awaited our bill we were treated to a bizarre dancing display by the fish in the display tanks in the restaurant - although that may just have been the Czech lager catching up on us. The waiter had thawed so much that once the bill had been paid he took a photo of us in front of their bar before waving us off into the night. And so, satisfied with our Prague curry experience, we headed off in search of more unpasteurised delights...



Range Of Drinks: Krusovice branded menu, Krusovice on tap, Kingfisher available also

Highlights: High quality main courses, awesome bar, authentically low-key, non-touristy vibe

Lowlights: Disappointing naan

The Verdict: Top quality curry in the land of the most awesome beer ever - what's not to like?

The Damage: 1030 CZK (approximately £35)

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