Flying out from the UK to Brno is an awkward proposition, the easiest route for us from Liverpool John Lennon was to fly into Bratislava, the Slovakian capital and take 3 changes (two trolleybus/trams onto a coach) to get into Brno. The trip was a little more stressful than it needed to be with neither myself or my companion speaking any Slovak; the older generation do seem to be responsive to German however. Nevertheless, we arrived in Brno in one piece with the travel costing us in the region of £7-8 in total from Bratislava airport to the coach station in Brno.
The first night, my friend living in Brno collected us from the (very desolate, it has to be said) coach station to drop our bags and then go and find something to eat and drink. Not much after an hour passed before we were sat in ‘STOPKOVA PLZENSKA PIVNICE’ [http://www.kolkovna.cz/index.php?show=hot&place=16]a bar/restaurant supposedly of some renown for serving good beer and pretty authentic Czech dishes. A steak with cream and cranberries was placed in front of me, known locally as svíčková, I was initially bemused by the offering of such things, but any apprehension gave way to hunger. The meat was actually perfectly cooked, the dumplings were excellently seasoned and provide enough stodge to fill me up, although I did try the cream and fruit with the dish, it is not something I was overly fussed on revisiting. My companion was struggling to select something suitable as this part of the world is not exactly known for its vegetarian offerings, but the sight of Cheese on the menu piqued interest; the sight of it being deep fried even more so.
This was a definite theme throughout the trip involving cheese, breadcrumbs and vats of oil where food was concerned; however, this first venture into such heavy and decadent food was pleasant. There was no residual trace of oil on the wedges of cheese in a light breadcrumb and it was served with bootlace fries and salad, it therefore provided an excellent companion to the Pilsner Urquell on offer. If you want to eat here, it is best to try and book a table in advance as it does get quite busy of an evening; be wary that places like this do not have a smoking ban either, so you may need to request a non-smoking table.
There is plenty of seating during the day and it does get a little busier in the evenings, but the atmosphere remains very relaxed and the service competent. There are a mix of higher tables and standard height dining arrangements, with a warmth to the place given partially by wooden decor and low ceilings.
The city then became a bit of a blur of bars and pubs thanks partly to some overindulgence and partly thanks to a very unusual 24 hour dose of a heavy cold which miraculously cleared up by the end of our second day in Brno. On place that stood out if not on novelty value, but also on the portion sizes on offer, with numerous branches across the Czech republic THE PUB [http://www.thepub.cz/brno/?lng=en] specialises in free pour beer (i.e. you pour your own drinks from a central tap on each table). Although there are other beers on offer, the chance to ‘race’ against other people in the bar and indeed against those drinking in Prague or Ostrava is quite some novelty. The beer itself is massively drinkable and as stated, the food is a good companion to a convivial affair, pizzas, burgers and steaks all cooked well and reasonably priced. Needless to say, with three of us having a go at the pumps, we were quite outgunned by a table in Prague sinking twice as much beer (likely having twice as many people – at least we hope so).
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Until next time, hopefully you enjoyed my little tour....