Saturday, February 9, 2008

Makakiko Asia & Sushi Restaurant

"Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess."
-Oscar Wilde
I went to the Palladium mall right after it opened and wrote a post about all the food offerings.

The prices are pretty high, and I didn't think I'd be spending a lot of time and money there.

But I did try Makakiko Asia & Sushi Restaurant a few times. It is one of the more eye-catching dining areas in the mall, with a lot of electric green and fancy light fixtures in the design.The place has a wide variety of offerings and a price points. There is a small army of Asian chefs working behind a counter.They offer a variety of Asian dishes that are usually prepared in advance. If you order one that is not ready, you might have at least a 10 minute wait.During one visit, I got the chicken terriyaki with rice (139 CZK) and took it to eat at work. Warning, the box lid doesn't seal tight, so it leaks.The chicken was good, with a nice, crispy skin. There was a fairly salty terriyaki sauce poured over the top. I wouldn't have minded if it had a little more sweetness.

On the side, there was white rice, a small amount of vinegary cucumber salad and Korean kimchi, and some lychee fruit.

On another trip, I had the red curry chicken (139 CZK). These aren't the cheapest lunches you'll find in Prague, but they are some of the cheapest at the Palladium. It also took a while to come.The chicken was good quality, but I found the sauce, made with coconut milk, to be on the bland side. It also came with a mound of rice.

Perhaps the biggest attraction at Makakiko is the all-you-can-eat sushi and Asian food conveyor belts. The dishes there cannot be taken a la carte (as I saw one customer try to do).

They call it "Running Sushi." For lunch, it is 298 CZK per person. For dinner it is 398 CZK.

When I first looked at the offerings I wasn't too impressed. There was very little sushi, but there was a much greater variety of other small, Asian dishes.

Then, V told me she tried it and liked it. She also said she thought the lunch price was a bargain, considering what other sushi places in Prague charge. So, I decided to go and try for myself.

There are actually two conveyor belts. This upper belt has warm dishes.

The lower belt has cold dishes and sushi.

For a start, I went to the cold belt and got a cucumber salad. The cucumbers were in a sweet rice vinegar. There were also a few pieces of onion and a slice of red pepper. A refreshing beginning.

I'm a big salmon nigiri fan, so I had four pieces. I never saw any tuna going around. The salmon was nothing special, but very fresh.

When you consider that, a la carte, the restaurant charges 55 CZK per piece, it pretty much justified the cost of the lunch right there.

But there was much more to try.

I also had some octopus nigiri. Octopus is pretty tricky in sushi places. It is often rubbery or dried out.

I was happy to find that these pieces were fairly tender (though still a little chewy), and fresh.

I tried some rolls. The first one, I didn't like so much. I couldn't see what it was when I picked it up off the belt. I had to open one up. It looked like small pieces of chicken and cucumber.

It had very fishy, salty skin flakes on the outside.

The second roll was better. It has salmon across the top. Inside, was surimi (crab stick) and avocado. A few sesame seeds were sprinkled on top.

Rolls of this quality didn't come around too often. I also noted it is good to sit at the first table at the beginning of the belt to get first pick.

Each table also has soy sauce, a jar of wasabi, and gari (pickled ginger).

A plate of red, peppery kimchi caught my eye. The Korean cabbage had a decent spicy kick to it.

Otherwise, it was fairly basic, and tasted a little watery. Not much fermentation going on here.

Then, it was time to go to the hot belt. I tried a couple of different dumplings. Both were filled with ground pork meat.

Nothing too exciting. The meat didn't have too much seasoning.

I had some fried wontons. They were filled with a little bit of chicken meat. They were still warm and crunchy when they reached me.

Luckily, the belt has some sweet chili sauce coming around on a regular basis. I used some of it for dipping the wontons.

There was batter-fried chicken pieces. It was close to tempura batter, but not quite.

The chicken was hammered very thin, but still had a decent consistency. I alternated dipping it in the soy sauce and chili sauce.

I decided to finish the food fest with three pieces of batter-fried banana. They came with a glaze of honey on top and a little plastic fork.

There were a few other dessert options, but I decided I could eat no more.

To get the all-you-can-eat deal, you have to sit next to the belts. There were 14 or 15 tables with four seats each with access.

There are many other tables where a la carte orders can be placed. What amazed me was that people sat at those tables and had a drink while they waited for a conveyor belt table to open up.V told me she had seen a queue for the all-you-can-eat, but I could hardly believe it would be that popular. But it was true. I don't know if it is the same for dinner.

I had a bottle of water with my feast, so the final tally was 338 CZK. Not a cheap lunch, and it certainly wasn't the best variety or top quality stuff.

But if you are in an Asian food and sushi mood, it doesn't get much cheaper.

I wouldn't say the cost is excessive for what you get. I don't love eating in the middle of the mall. But if V wants to, I'd go again. So, I'd call it a success.

Makakiko Asia & Sushi Restaurant
The Palladium mall
Náměstí Republiky
Prague 1

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The Lone Beader® said...

I love sushi, but I don't think I'd think of having that in Prague... LOL.

Anonymous said...

In my mind, sushi still is 100% Japanese thing and the place seems really a fusion of Sushi and Asian (Chinese dimsum, mainly). Cannot imagine a place that serve both together this way in Japan. If you can accept the fact, then the place seem not too bad. I might even try it next time.

> It looked like small pieces of chicken and cucumber. It had very fishy, salty skin flakes on the outside.

The flakes are, as I see from your photo, bonito (seasoned with soy based sauce and dried)called Katsuo-Bushi, an ordinary ingredient in Japanese cooking. Usually used to make dashi base(Japanese soup stock) but I have not seen an use like this for sushi. Some non-Japanese cook might have been inspired.


Anonymous said...

And if you and your beloved V has a chance to visit Tokyo (or any other Japanese city for that matter) one day, try one of the many Kaiten-Zushi (Sushi) restaurants. Tokyo (or Osaka? I'm not sure) is where the first ever of this belt-conveyor style restaurant opened about 40 years ago (I can say that safely, I guess). There is no all you can eat system but one plate with 2 pieces of sushi costing average €0.80, that wouldn't be too expensive. Green tea & marinated sweet ginger are free and abandant. Of course there are some expensive fish that would cost up till €3.00 (uni sea-urchin or fatty tuna). If you don't find sushi of your choice on the belt, you can request to one of the sushi chef behind the counter. They make ones for you upon order, no problem. Ask as many salmon as you want ;-)


Anonymous said...

Running sushi ? ha-ha, nice one. In Japan, it's generally called Kaiten (rotating) - Zushi.


Floduard Quolke said...

Been there today. I'm not a sushi expert, in fact I've only eaten supermarket sushi and four pieces at some sushi restaurant before, but I quite liked the stuff that was offered at Makakiko in the mall. I even liked most of the non-sushi stuff although I was sometimes very much surprised by the flavour of the unknown things.
There was no queue, the people there were very friendly and in my opinion the qualitiy of food is at least okay. Sure, the octopus sushi really is a bit chewy but apart from a few exceptions I was more or less overwhelmed by the broad choice and the many distinctive flavours.
Will definately go there again, not in the near future stomach still feels extremely full more than 7 hours after the orgy. I always get competitive when it comes to all-you-can-eat lunches or dinners.

Thanks for the great review! Wouldn't have gone there if I hadn't read about it here first!

Anonymous said...

It was a great place to eat! At least I didnt have Czech waiters hovering over me and asking me every 2 seconds if I need anything.The food was fresh and the price was right.

Pissaman said...

The food was excellent.
The service was great.
The prices were awesome.
We went there by chance, and the next day we did a 1 hour "trip" to go there and eat again!
If i will visit prague again, one thing is for sure, i will eat there again!
Does anyone knows if this restaurants exist in greece????
Chris from Greece (aka pissaman)