LAST WEEKEND I wrote of my authentic experience at ‘The Auction Room’ in Maghera, and told you about the great coffee, food and ambiance on offer to residents and commuters alike.
This weekend, work on another journalistic variety has me in the Czech Republic, so I thought as a side-note as I sit here, I’d tell you about another lovely little cafe type place in Statenice, a wealthy commuter village near Prague (Praha in Czech) airport for a very early start tomorrow morning. It’s called “Kavarnicka-cafe” – (with a few accents and grave type things on a few of those letters which this English keyboard here is incapable of replicating!)
Unlike ‘The Auction Room’ (though they are not really to be compared) this place does alcohol, so I must confess this weekend as the weather outside is -4C and I’ve a chesty cough threatening, I ‘upgraded’ to a sneeky wee hot whiskey with lemon, and a little local honey thrown in for good measure. For purely medicinal purposes of course 🙂
The prices are comparable with Maghera, but in Prague that means you’re considered to be in a pretty upmarket/wealthy type place, as establishments of lesser quality are much cheaper, I’ve found, than back home. This hot whiskey, granted, was still ‘only’ about £3 /80 Czech Korunas.
You can of course get a healthy variety of the usual coffees, teas and things, but I’m afraid I can’t honestly say how good or bad these are, but they looked pretty good at least, and service was fast, efficient and courteous. I wouldn’t say warm, like the Maghera welcome I received, but to be fair to them, I spoke English and seemed to be rather out of place as a non-Czech person. Though the girl who served me did seem to speak pretty good English, she just didn’t seem overly bothered about serving a well-paying foreigner with any real warmth or level of hospitality we take for granted in Northern Ireland. Que the fresh empathy I now have with immigrants in our own country and visitors alike. I am so glad to say that honestly I do try to make a specific point of being very welcoming and helpful to foreign visitors in Northern Ireland or London, and all the more my travels and personal experience make this a basic personal value I will heartily continue.
As for the food here, well it was good quality Czech food, of high standard and tastes pretty good, but honestly? I’d say the food at The Auction Room, including it’s presentation, are of a higher first class standard.
This place – Kavarnicka-cafe – is for well-off middle class Czech people living in a pleasant suburb type commuter village on the edge of a Prague. Apparently this wee town is full of bankers. As such, it feels like an up-market Prague rich type cafe. It’s nice, but almost too sterile and slick or something. The music was also a bit uncertain. Give me ‘The Auction Room’ in Maghera any day. It was much more warm and inviting, on not just a physical level.
Northern Ireland has a habit of doing itself short and living in false humility in a lot of ways, but truthfully, it’s hard to find as good places to eat and drink, for as reasonable value, as back home, from various travels I’ve undertaken in recent years across Europe and North America in particular.
A latte here cost 60 Korunas, which is about £2 – quite expensive for this part of the world.
Even a small apple juice costs 45 Korunas in Czech currency. That’s about at least £1.50. Pretty steep by any Western prices.
But if you’re ever in ‘Praha’ – Prague – and need a nice wee coffee or hot whiskey(!) near the airport, I’d still recommend Kavarnicka-cafe. Owned by Barbara Skopkova, it again is no Maghera counterpart, though, in that it’s not seeking to do specific good in the local community through employing unemployed young people. So once again The Auction Room in Maghera comes out tops in that regard. But Barbara has done a great job with the Christmas decorations, (I must say quite classy!), and all of a sudden this weekend it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!