Tuesday 15 January 2008

Cafe Kor, Budapest, Hungary

I spent the weekend with the lads in Budapest. A trip designed to get the winter blues out of our collective systems. We stayed in a friend's fantastic time share and spent the weekend eating, drinking and wandering around the beautiful city of Budapest.

During the day it's cold and classically attractive. Stylish architecture reminds you of the glory days of the Habsburg Empire...

But it looks much better at night time...

Whilst cool grafitti points towards an emerging creative community.

The food in Budapest is fucking amazing. So long as you avoid anything called "Gypsy Roast" in a place called "The Old Man Pub". If you order this make sure you don't make the mistake I did and believe your friend who says that the odd looking thing on your plate is a pineapple fritter when in actual fact it is a lump of bacon fat that has been deep fried and looks like a star fish which will make you want to both become a vegetarian and be sick at the same time! The length of the previous sentence is in direct proportion to how disgusting it was...

In contrast we ate at a brilliant restaurant called Cafe Kor which I had seen recommmended on Virtual Tourist. We'd been complete heros and had failed to buy a single guide book between 4 of us, so we followed our instinct and went for it. The anxiety and surprise factor added to our enjoyment of the meal.

We arrived and were ushered to the table near the loo. We were simply delighted to have been able to get a seat. We were there for fun and good food and the location of the table didn't matter in the slightest.

It's a smallish restaurant that serves excellent French and Hungarian food. We chose well from the list of starters. Norris demolished his carpaccio which was seriously good. Meaty, soft and sliced so thinly we couldn't believe it. Gilly's salmon carpaccio was brilliant too. The fish roe and horseradish made for an excellent combination. Henry's goat's cheese salad was very tasty. And I was delighted with my smoked duck and rocket salad. A minor gripe from me was that the duck was still very chilly. As it warmed up to room temperature the smokiness of the duck revealed itself to be rich, smooth and a perfect counterfoil to the crisp pepperiness of the leaves.

But the best was yet to come. The boys chose goulash on mass to go with an excellent bottle of Hungarian red that Gilly chose. 3 plates of very tasty goulash arrived smelling deep and meaty. (Sorry the picture isn't that great)

Then my fillet of beef a la Rossini was triumphantly placed in front of me. I'd ordered as a last minute decision without really thinking about it. But thank God I did - trust your instinct. It was a fantastic slab of rare fillet, cooked to perfection. Under it swam an attractive and very tasty swamp of deglazed juice and a splash of Madeira. On top was a good slice of goose liver and a sauted wild mushroom. Words almost fail me to describe how overwhelmingly brilliant it was. Imagine what it must be like have sex at the same time as winning the lottery and then finding out that the old picture you inherited from a long lost relative is actually a Vermeer. Then translate this into my first forkful. Droool! The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice... and neither do my words.

Having almost creamed myself about how good the beef was we all chose some cracking crepes which whilst delicious were thoroughly unnecessary given how full we were and that we had some serious drinking to do. We rounded things off with port and cognac before heading out for whatever Budapest decided to throw at us.

If you go to Budapest give Cafe Kor a try.

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