Monday, February 12, 2007

Half & Half

"A new sandwich place is opening at the top of Wenceslas Square! It looks really good and fancy!"

V's news got me pretty excited. We'd been waiting for this development for years. The top of Wenceslas Square is a culinary wasteland -- McDonald's, KFC, pizza, chlebicky (Czech open-faced sandwiches) and, uh, hmmm. That's about it.

A couple of days later, Half & Half opened its doors. It is appropriately called Half & Half because it is divided into two different shops that are next to each other, but not connected because a passage runs between them. One side sells sandwiches and pastries. The other side sells ice cream, which looked like gelato, and cakes.
On my first visit, I had ciabata s mozzerllou -- a ciabatta with tomato, mozzarrella, black olives, lettuce, and butter. The ciabatta itself was fresh and retained some crunch in the crust. It had a few slices of rubbery mozzarella -- think egg whites with a bit of salt. At 59 CZK, it wasn't going to break the bank, but you can see why. The ingredients were not of the highest, freshest standard. This seemed true of most of the sandwiches I saw -- very few layers of meats that didn't look very attractive on close inspection. They also do sandwiches on bagels and croissants.
The next day, I tried the ciabata s kurceim masa -- a ciabatta with curry-seasoned chunks of chicken meat, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise. The price is 55 CZK. The lettuce was totally wilted and soft. The chicken was fairly tasty, though, and the ciabatta was fresh.
I tried the brownie (35 CZK). It was more of the cake-like style brownie, not very large. And it was also very dry and crumbly. This may, in part, be a failure of the recipe, but freshness may have also been an issue. But Half & Half had only been open for two days at this point.

They also have a number of pastries that are "baked" in the shop. They are "baked" in the sense that start off as the embryonic pre-formed pastries from what I have heard is giant factory hidden beneath the great lawn of Letna that supplies the entire country with identical pastries. There are croissants, something like a peach turnover.

So, on my second visit, I tried what is called a "pecan braid" for 25 CZK. Sweet, crunchy decadence.

It is sort of a cross between a croissant and a pecan pie. And they have ones just like them at my work.

There is no escape.

I also saw they something of a favorite of mine -- thick hot chocolate -- the kind that has a heating machine swirling it around so it doesn't get too thick and begin to set like chocolate pudding. This was very good and I actually drank it before I could get it back to the office to take a good picture of it.

I'd call it pricey at 45 CZK, but I'll be back for more. It is not quite as good as Cafe Louvre's version, but better than the thick hot chocolate at Boulevard Crocodille on Vodickova.

They also do coffee, espresso, and cappuccino. The sandwiches won't be a big attraction. Perhaps the freshness issue will improve if and when they get busier.

Half & Half
Wenceslas Square 51
Prague 1
Tel. 222 240 696


Anonymous said...

Check out the new-ish cafe on the corner of Celnice / Namesti Republiky - that's what proper bread and sandwiches should look like.

Also good pastries for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Look for good delivery sandwiches on It's working in Brno, hopefully it comes to Prague soon.