My lasting memory of the end of the summer will be my trip to Budapest with my friends Abi, Annie and Beanie. Doing the usual quick tripadvisor search when in free wifi areas, we found some gems and chanced over some others too.
Hanoi Pho – We stumbled across this restaurant as we were turned away from the popular Hungarikum Bistro (below) round the corner after not having booked. Every dish here was great, the noodles were the highlight, everything was fresh and with all the food we had in Budapest, reasonably-priced. The wine they paired was excellent too.
Hungarikum Bisztro – We found this place on tripadvisor and booked for the next night’s early bird dinner after the turning away. Imagine The Lady and the Tramp Italian meal vibe and you’re in this delightful bistro. The lovely staff remembered us and ushered us to our presentation table next to the harpsichordist. It was an excellent traditional meal with a menu that showcased the cuisine well. We started with a delicious amuse bouche of bread covered in sour cream and dusted with paprika. We were also presented with 3 types of chilli to go with our bread basket, fresh chilli, dried and a salty paste like the Indonesian sambal oelek.
For my starter I had the minced chicken filled crepes, serve with a paprika sauce which was soft and flavourful. The theme of their food seemed to be distinct big savoury flavours, gravies with an emphasis on meat, a bit like Bavarian food or perhaps even Danish food but with an exciting dash of the ever-present paprika in all it’s strengths and degrees of smoke. Meat and two veg at it’s best, for my main I had the confit duck leg with a rough mash potato with sauteed onion running through it, on a bed of red cabbage. The others had steak layered with huge rings of onion. and an unusual deep-fried, puffed dough called langos, smothered in yet more sour cream and cheese.
Zoska – This beautiful café was round the corner from where we were staying so we got up and had a lazy brunch there. Inside it’s like some kind of pinterest dream where gym goers go post workout, the walls are white with fake grass floors and the crockery mismatched like the mad hatter’s tearoom. We had nice, strong cortado coffees, fluffy american pancakes and stuffed paninis.
Chocolate Festival at Buda Castle – We went to the festival on a really hot day, too hot for chocolate, though there was a lot on offer. It was a bit commercial, Jelly Belly beans and Cadbury’s but we got some nice marshmallow, mint and apple macarons and I had a delicious pork burger from the Mangalica and Tarsai stall, a deli that specialises in a special curly-haird pig breed in Hungary. The taste was incredible, served in a ciabatta-type bun with a slice of beef tomato and mayonnaise.
Molnar’s Kurtoskalacs – We passed this café everyday and took a sample of their kurtoskalacs-chimney cake each way. It’s pastry made on a rotisserie, similar to a croissant, a crispy, sugary, cinnamon coating on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside. So on the final day we went there for a whole one, with hearty hot chocolate, tea and coffee to accompany.
At the airport we managed to have a pretty nice flight-delay meal, pork belly and tenderloin with tomatoey potatoes, onions and white peppers. And a mojito for the road, as it was our drink of choice the whole time, they serve them everywhere, on river cruises, in 70s themed bars and their traditional beer garden ruin pubs. The food and drink in Budapest was impressively cosmopolitan and good quality. I look forward to being able to go back there sometime, and if you go there in the meantime, a word of warning, don’t drink the unicum.