Vintage arcade games and pizza: a new kid-friendly brunch for Prague

Vintage arcade games and pizza: a new kid-friendly brunch for Prague

Mama Shelter Prague opened its doors in September 2018 in the former Parkhotel, a Holešovice landmark between Stromovka and Veletržní palác known for its brutalist architecture.

Prague is the seventh location for the franchise which also operates hotels in Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Marseilles, Paris, Lyon, and Rio de Janeiro.

The building’s blocky facade is a stark contrast to the riot of daring interior design and fresh international flavors one discovers within.

Already a worldwide success with its target demographic—millennials who appreciate whimsical touches like superhero-mask light fixtures in the rooms and display cases packed with tchotchkes in the lobby—it’s also an ideal place to take the family brunch.

We visited one of the first Sunday brunches, launching in late January. The brunch takes place in the daylight-flooded cantina section of the hotel, a color-drenched space decked out in eye-popping mismatched upholstery and retro seating.

A local jazz band, Charlie and the Chocolates, got started about an hour in, playing a small area adjacent to the bar beneath a giant-screen TV showing cartoons on a loop.

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The buffet-style brunch is definitely not your standard Continental breakfast fare. The spread runs the spectrum from vegetarian quiche, cheeses, grain and vegetable salads, charcuterie, and a rainbow of fresh fruit, to breakfast casseroles served family-style in enormous baking dishes.

We started with smoked-salmon rillettes, pumpkin soup, and multiple helpings of a zesty citrus salad made with fregola, also called ptitim, a semolina pasta with Israeli roots that frequently turns up in Ottolenghi recipes.

The international menu, a nod to the hotel’s diverse portfolio of locations, continued with large platters of hummus, dill-spiked cucumber-and-yogurt salad, and tabbouleh (though truthfully I was disappointed that the gyozas and shakshouka from the daily menu weren’t served at brunch).

The line up of hot dishes included egg cocottes with mushroom cream, crunchy chicken tonkatsu, arancini fried rice balls with hermelin, grilled vegetables with chimichurri sauce, lasagne al forno, and some local palate pleasers: beef goulash, sausages, Prague ham, and a bounty of local breads and mini kolaček.

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The undeniable winner—at least among the 4-to-6-year-old contingency—was the never-ending pizza with its soft, chewy brick-oven crust and quality toppings that was as easy to handle (among the most important criteria for us these days) as it was delicious to eat.

The hotel will soon be launching make-your-own pizza classes for kids during brunch time (the cantina area also houses a brick pizza oven), though for now, ours were satisfied with the novelty of having unlimited pizza for breakfast.

Runner-up kid favorite: the grilled brioche, wobbly French-toast cubes perfect for loading up with spoonfuls of Nutella and preserves from the giant bowls positioned on a low-table at kid height. Breakfast sausage sliders were also a big hit for small hands.

A children’s’ corner has now opened with activities, coloring, games, and movies, though older kids will definitely appreciate the multiple old-school arcade-game consoles, air hockey, and pool in the lobby, while the seating opposite the cantina has tables with built-in chess and checker boards, and shelves stocked with board games.

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Dessert almost seemed like a dangerous endeavor at this point but the little teacup servings of tiramisu and vanilla creme brulée, madeleines, and homemade chocolate chip cookies were impossible to resist.

Family brunch at Mama Shelter is every Sunday from 12pm-4pm. A price of 890 CZK includes unlimited Prosecco, house wine, beer, and soft drinks (for us that was fresh strawberry lemonades in oversize mason jars); kids under 6 are free and kids 6-12 are half off.

Our tip: for a warmer weather excursion, work off your brunch at the newly opened climbing structure off Stromovka or visit the Pixar exhibit which just opened at the Prague Exhibtion Grounds and make a day of it.

Mama Shelter also has a very affordable kid’s menu for anyone who considers pizza and free Pacman a winning combo.

Elizabeth Haas

Elizabeth Haas is the editor of Expats.cz. She has lived in Prague for 12 years working as a writer and editor of cookbooks and travel guides. Her work has appeared in both Czech and American publications.

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