Review: Pivovar Victor
Come for the beer, and not the food, at newly opened microbrewery
Posted: January 23, 2013
The brewery's two types of beer are worth a stop in Žižkov, but the food is average at best.
There's a whole host of vitamins in beer: niacin, vitamin B6, flavonoids, enough to justify considering it a food group on its own, with a bit of imagination. Though it's never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach, there are some places where the food is of such a poor standard that it's better to trust the liquid lunch in your glass rather than venture near the kitchens. At least at the newly opened Pivovar Victor in Žižkov, the beer is particularly drinkable, giving a shine to a pub that is otherwise a bit dingy, albeit fittingly so for the dingy sort of coolness that scrapes off the street in this part of Žižkov. I ventured there with Max Bahnson, aka Pivní Filosof, who blogs about beer on The Prague Post's website, to check out their beers and food in a joint review - he got the better end of the stick with this place.
They mean well at Victor, and the waiter on two recent visits was very friendly, offering a bit of chat and an expression of concern over our almost untouched plates. Perhaps they were just having an off day, but the meals were so shockingly unappetizing that it's hard to imagine how they could veer off track to such an extent. It came as a shock, considering a previous evening there had been perfectly enjoyable.
Oh, those halycon days of that first visit. Coming in from the bitter cold, my dining companion and I took a seat next to the radiator on big, wooden benches lined at equally large, medievalish wooden tables. The 12º Victor beer on tap went down very easily, and the room took on a cozy village-pub sort of feel. We tucked into garlic soup, that Czech bulwark against colds and hangovers alike, a sturdy broth of potent garlic cubes, carrots parsley and squares of bread. It had all the meaty balance of a nice homemade soup, although some of the carrots could have been softer.
Next up was goulash and svíčková, pub classics that were made for subzero temperatures outside. The bread dumplings that came with both were fresh and fluffy, although a tad cold from sitting in the refrigerator. The svíčková had an especially thick sauce that didn't quite fill out the whole plate. The creamy sauce was heavy on carrots, and benefited nicely from that, adding a sweet brightness to the dish. There were three chunks of beef, which, while low on fat, was a bit tough.
Husitská 72, Prague 3-Žižkov
Tel. 601 577 477 Open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Smoking permitted Pivovarvictor.cz
Pickled hermelín 59 Kč
Garlic soup 60 Kč
Svíčková with bread dumplings 165 Kč
Brewer's goulash with bread dumplings 155 Kč
Roast duck, sauerkraut and dumplings 250 Kč
Baked chicken with mushrooms and cream sauce 199 Kč
0.5L 12º Victor lager 35 Kč
The goulash came with a fistful of sliced raw onion, enough for each bite without having to ration it out. The meat was tender, and had only a little bit of gristle, and the sauce was sweet and reddish-tinged from long-stewed paprika. It certainly wasn't the best goulash out there, but it was satisfying for a pub meal - which cannot be said of the next visit.
Victor has no daily menu and instead offers its regular selection throughout the day. A starter of pickled hermelín wasn't too bad, but it was too-EU; the cheese tasted barely pickled at all and wasn't as soft or smooth as desired. The oil on it was all right, though, and there were loads of raw onions, again, piled on top.
The entrées were the biggest disappointment I've had in a long time - and I've had quite a few disappointing meals. The roast duck, a Czech standard, was a dry, chewy hunk of meat that tasted of several reheatings and had a bitter, almost sour bite to it that seemed tenuously on the brink of simply being off. The red sauerkraut was serviceable but forgettable, and the only saving grace to the plate was several interesting potatoes, pucked like dumplings, that had been roasted well.
Another dish, baked chicken with a mushroom and cream sauce, arrived bubbling in a clay pot. Covered with a thick layer of melted eidam, the murky depths were varying shades of gray, and it was hard to tell which were the small, gristly nubs of chicken and which were the rubbery, bitter mushrooms. After a few stabbing attempts at it, the unappetizing dish was left untouched. A side of potato wedges seemed promising at first, being clearly house-made and uneven in size, but unfortunately the unevenness went straight through, with many wedges being undercooked in parts.
Another thing that needs mentioning is the smell in the toilets. I noticed the stench on our first visit, and it was still there on the second, despite being just after noon and the place being empty. I don't know if there's a problem with the pipes or a lack of hygiene, but it was a huge turnoff, and, if you're drinking several pints, a visit to the toilets is unavoidable.
Pivovar Victor is located right next door to Merenda, a multitap pub serving a rotation of interesting beers and a good standard of pub fare. For those interested in trying out a new beer - Victor has two, a lager and a stout - the brewery is a fine stop, but if you're looking for more than sauce and dumplings for sustenance, you may have to go hungry here.
Fiona Gaze can be reached at
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