Best of Budapest

Two bloggers who love Budapest telling you why, with the support of Helpers, Hungary’s leading business and immigration services provider.

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From March 2015, English translations courtesy of:

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Jack’s Burger: Hungarian burger for the world domination

2015.02.24. 08:04 | boussa

Nowadays Budapest is really lively, regarding to the hamburgers, although we have to say it is always lively. In the last weeks several new burger places had their grand openings. According to Adam, there is one, which could easily be on our top list: for this we must have the same opinion so soon I am going to check the Finomító Kantin, and if we agree, the list will be refreshed.

The Jack’s Burger  isn’t amongst the best few places of Budapest, but it is absolutely good and it has a huge advantage: the place is located in the middle of the city on the Hercegprímás utca, which always gets in your way, even if you are heading to another direction. So somehow you always get there.

The newest chain of the restaurant chain is quite interesting, because the Jack’s Burger isn’t really a restaurant chain, it just looks like it. There is no western standard format it isn’t an unknown restaurant in Hungary, but with thousands of restaurants in the States. Jack's Burger is located only on the Hercegprímás utca and if we take a closer look at the date on the logo we can see that it was established in 2013. They are quite confident because it only gets cool from 2063.

So it isn’t a multi, it isn’t old, it isn’t even a chain, but the girl behind the counter was keenly talking about the possible openings of other restaurants in case of success. Now to be true, their enthusiasm is a little bit gratuitous:

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We have been there in the beginning of May. The city was full of people, you hardly could have free tables and seats in the restaurants and pubs, but the Jack’s Burger was almost totally empty. Soon we will see, that it happened without any reason.

The food isn’t expensive. You can have sandwiches, chicken parts on a reasonable price though we haven't tried them, but we had hamburgers with fried potatoes for 1200-1400.

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Actually we tried the specialty of the house, the Jack’s Burger Bacon Cheese with the own sauce of the house. The food is made right in front of you and you can see that the meat is quite thin, the potatoes are frozen and after a while you realize that you can only sit on the floor, because there are no chairs. It is said that they are going to have, if they get the permit for the terrace.

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The burger is quickly done, so let’s concentrate on the food and the tray, which is really cool and practical.  You can simply walk to the nearest bench with it, where you can easily enjoy your meal.

As I have mentioned earlier the potatoes are frozen potatoes, but they are fried pretty well in a kind of spicy oil or in the oil something was fried in before. Anyway it is edible. The mayonnaise is the usual industrial one, what you can also get at the Burger King. 

What is more important than that is that this is the only place in the world where the food looks exactly the same that is sold to you.

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Michael Douglas’ ’Falling Down’ would get a nervous breakdown here.

The bun is the usual, sweet one. It is tasty and it is absolutely ok, if you accept the existence of this type of bun, you won't have any problems with it.

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The vegetables aren’t bad, although the tomato wasn’t that good. The salad is fresh and the cucumber is ok. The bacon was absolutely right and well done, even the quantity and the thickness was good. However the meat is thin, although juicy and tastes good, but it cannot be on our top list, although three years ago it would have been there. The onion was pretty well caramelized, and the special homemade sauce made the food to be really good. It was almost a cocktail sauce, but it was definitely good for the hamburger. This made the Jack’s Burger’s whole main course good.

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So: if we compare the Jack’s Burger to the Ring or Manga, or to the Varieté, it is obvious that the Jack's Burger is a little bit behind them. But it is way better than the similar fast food restaurants, while it isn’t more expensive than them. This new place is in the top of the middle category, so if you are there, go and visit them. Anyway there isn’t any other good burger place around. Maybe after a while they will also have chairs and tables and after that the world domination!

Jack's Burger
Budapest
Hercegprímás utca 4.
06703176016

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Tags: budapest gastro go-out premium fast food


Brody Studios: we still have patrons in Budapest

2015.02.19. 08:05 | boussa

We have already written about the Brody House. We have been to the place before. They had a brilliant event in connection with fashion. I think fashion is quite boring, however I’ve been watching the performance tensely for more than two hours. Many things have happened in the club’s life since then. For example they have opened the Brody Studios, their second center which is located in the Vörösmarty utca and not in the Bródy Sándor utca.

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I know the post isn’t so interesting yet, but it is worth reading.


So the basics: The Brody House has started its activity with a hotel. No. Let's see what happened earlier. In 2000 two investors William Clothier and Peter Grundberg came to Hungary and they earned a lot of money by investing. The next logical step for them would have been to leave the country and spend the money in an exotic place, but they’ve rather stood here. They were thinking about supporting and keeping the local culture alive so they have decided to give something back from the money they have earned here. This is how they want to make a sensible quality change in Budapest. Formerly people like them were known as ‘mecenates’, but on one hand there are only a few nowadays, who support talented but hungry artists and on the other hand: these people do it in a wrong way. However Clothier and Grundberg know how to do it.

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In 2009 they bought the house in the Bródy Sándor utca and they turned one of the floors of the house to the painters and also provided food and accommodation to them so they could calmly create. In exchange for this Clothier and Grundberg asked them to give some money from their revenue to the Brody House after selling a picture. After a while the idea came to open a hotel in the house with unique rooms which are designed by the artists having lived there before. That’s why each and every room is different. Meanwhile the Brody House became a club where artists and their audience can meet. This is not the Opera Ball where the entrance fee takes 100.000 HUF and you simply cannot have deep, meaningful conversations wearing a dress and having a makeup. Here if you are a member of the club (the membership fee is absolutely reasonable) you can easily gain access to the high quality events for only 1000-2000 HUF, where you can talk to people you usually don’t meet.

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This kind of development resulted in opening the Brody Studios. You cannot find a hotel in it but you can meet the members of the club, you can see several artists sponsored by the Brody working simultaneously and you can also participate at high quality clubevents just like I did lately.


So the whole thing was about letting people with different cast of thought who love Budapest and culture meet each other, get drunk for free sponsored by Pernod Ricard. So they have the opportunity to think about something together which makes this city a better place. An idea that isn’t so big, just a small idea or thoughts from conversations which can slowly repaint the city.

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While people were drinking we visited some artists who were actually working on something. I could meet so many interesting people. I am not a pally type of person I don’t really get closer to others except my nearest and dearest, but here I had the chance to talk about the decline of the national economy with a successful headhunter, I could also meet Thomas the professor from Great Britain, who is doing a research on the Hungarian history sponsored by the Queen. I met the owner of the pornographic penthouse in the Király utca and a successful German businessman who loves living in Hungary and he wouldn't move even despite the depressing circumstances.

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During the short conversations I had the chance to get to know Budapest better in such a point of view which is different than mine so it is more realistic. It was an exciting journey and it is really good to have Brody here for us, which sets up the stage and shouts ACTION! Everything else is up to us. And we have a lot to do.


Photos by: Álmos Eőry


Brody Studios
Budapest, Vörösmarty utca 38.
info@brodyhouse.com

 

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Tags: fun budapest city go-out


Peppers Marriot

2013.12.12. 15:45 | czdorka

I had already written about Sunday Brunch and it has been my favourite since then. This is an "all you can eat" category but with much better quality food than usual.If you get it by a'la carte, you can not decline. The popularity of Sunday Branch has increased massively due to the article so we were invited to try a menu compilation in the Marriott, called "Kostoló" - the Taster.

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So the main concept of the dinner was creating a mixed menu in the Marriott's Peppers restaurant which is a little bit a'la carte as well as the Sunday Brunch. The point of the idea is having starters and dessert on a multi-storey tray but the main courses are choosen from the menu, including St. Jacob mussels with shrimps, duck, tenderloins or grilled lamb.

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The starters are fantastic! Creams, pates, prawns with garlic saice on the third level of the tray, goose liver with dried plum in red wine sauce on the first, and one of my favourites; smoked trout with horseradish on the middle tray; sensational.

It is a particularly strong commencement of your meal to have these straters, home breads and baguettes are provided continuously, served with olives, tomato sticks and variety of sauces.

After this, nobody thinks that a pumpkin soup could be competitive, but I have to say - even though I don't like pumpkin - it is perfect, with strong creamy taste, not to mention their sorbet between the starters and the main course.

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I ate steak for my main course. I enjoyed the mushroom Burgundi sauce with the medium rare meat.
The first time when I was there, I had lamb with pepper stew and I could not fault it. I tried prawns too, you will love it!

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On the first level of the tray there are variety of delicious and special cheeses, supplemented by great toppings such as mustard with fig jam.

Unfortunately I wasn't happy with the desserts, they were characterless. But you can ignore my opinion because when we complained about it, they took our advice and changed the whole menu.

My last comment: The menu is 8100 HUF. This is not much for such quality and quantity. It is incredibly filling too.
But I think it is a shame that this price doesn't include the wine. A galss should be included in the menu.

Some of the guests - who ordered wine - complained about it and said that the wines did not complement the food well and it would have been better if they could have had free choice. I annoyed the Marriott until we came to a compromise; now if you say "Best of Budapest" when you book (you always have to), a glass of wine will be free of charge. So cool, isn't it?

Peppers Restaurant,

Budapest Marriott Hotel
1052, Budapest, Apáczai Csere János utca 4.
Tel.: +36 1 737 7377
Booking: reservations@peppers.hu


SEMMI EXTRA restaurant

2013.12.03. 12:31 | czdorka

 

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There are two relevant facts I can tell about the 11th district. It is full of green and there are only few places with good food, even though it is the biggest district in Budapest. I mean that finding a cool restaurant - where you can meet your friends or just pop in for short lunch or dinner and have good quality food - is very difficult. 

Fast-food restaurant line up around Móricz Zsigmond körtér, offers hamburgers, Vietnamese soups, Greek or Hungarian menus, but these are typical "eat and go" places. Szatyor could be a nice shelter in the evenings, but unfortunately I cannot place its style among the restaurants... I live in 11th district and was so bored with going out in the city each time I would have liked to meet up and eat with friends.

So if you asked me about restaurants in 11. district, I could say: NOTHING SPECIAL. And this is the name of the restaurant in Hungarian; SEMMI EXTRA.

Semmi Extra exploded into this area with these two words and suddenly brought a big change for the residents of this district. 

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The interior is imaginatively designed, the waiters are very friendly and the restaurant offers delicious meals at a good price. The building use to be an old cinema, so the place pays respect to this, with a style reflecting those times. An open kitchen and a few tables welcome the guests, but the main part of the restaurant is beyond this. Stepping down on some stairs, we enter a more airy space with big mirrors which also makes this area more spacious. You feel like Uma Thurman and John Travolta in Jack Rabbit Slim's in Buda.

During lunchtime, a cafeteria is on, with variety of soups at 300-500 HUF and main courses around 650 HUF. Otherwise, hamburgers, pastas and salads are on the menu.

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One of the most important speciality of Semmi Extra is their duck burger. The ingredients on top of their simple burger are the following: roast duck liver, red onion jam, roasted pepper, goats cheese, green salad and honey-mustard sauce. You can easily feel that the shef has experimented with each ingredient and tested the tastes in great detail, to see how these foods behave in the mouth. The whole flavour is sweetish, but they also offer a suor celery-onion sauce in which you can dip your chips, providing you with the perfect balance between sweet and sour. The price of this burger is 1090 HUF but you can get it at superb rate of 1490 HUF with chips and a drink.

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Gastro manager, Bori Sinkó, obviously knows that turning to fast food respectfully should alike turning to exquisite cuisine. The best burger could only be made with this attitude as well as fresh and tasty ingredients. 

The restaurant is full all day. We went there at 2pm and had to wait at the bar. Then we tried another time, this time at 8pm but the situation was the same. However, it never took long to get a table.

Even if it is always busy, there are some mistake I have to mention. Sometimes the upstairs area smell of oil. They open the windows to let fresh air in, which also lets the cold in from outside. It is not rare for the electricity to be off because "they have problems with the Hungarian Electricity Works" - according to the nice waiter.

Movie chairs are so cool and comfortabe when you are leaning backwards, but it kills your spine whlist you are eating.
So take my advice, stay downstairs.

For those who live in Újbuda, Semmi Extra is a must-see!

Tags: Címkék


In the search for the best Hungarian food: Kívánság étkezde

2013.11.20. 12:56 | boussa

We are fighting on with the fried fat in bread crumbs: we are visiting another Hungarian restaurant, but this time we are not moving on the axis of Kispiac-Pesti disznó. We have rebooted the series and now we are getting back to the basics like Kádár and Norbi étkezde.

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The Kívánság étkezde is located in the seventh district but not around Kazinczy tér, but far far away from that, beyond Nagykörút where you cannot see tourists, not even from Eastern Europe. This means that there aren‘t so many foreigners like in Kádár, but thetypical Hungarian checked table cover and the honor based cash register is the same. The guests are mainly regular guests, everybody knows everyone. Workers and intellectuals can be found inside, so they are not the same guests you can see in Costes. Though I can be mistaken because when I have been there the guests were talking about the benefits of double-entry bookkeeping, which could also be an interesting topic in the Michelin star restaurants.

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So the place is engaging and entertaining even from outside and inside. I think Paris could have been like that when Saint-Germain-des-Prés was THE Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Or the writers misled me or I misunderstood them.


Anyway the Kívánság gives the kind of atmosphere we know from the Hungarian films made in the first half of the 80s. That’s why we feel comfortable in it and do not really want to check facebook and e-mails on our smart phone: we just lay back and enjoy the atmosphere.

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But not so long because my food arrives really quickly. I start with a bean soup, this is the small portion for 520 HUF, haha:

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The soup was not a small portion, it was rather huge, particularly for this money. At other places this takes 7-800 HUF. I'm not saying that this was the best bean soup I have ever eaten, but the bean and all the other ingredients were well-cooked, the smoky taste was good, bacon cubes were alright, though not excellent just simply good. Altogether it was rather good than great but it took 520 HUF and in cooler restaurants you can only get a bottle of mineral water. You know, mineral water, but not 2 liters, but 0,33 l. This soup contained around half liter of liquid, which is worth more than the refreshment!


Then came the pork chop fried in potato served with garlic and cheese. One of our readers suggested trying it with French fries. With homemade French fries. I think it is cheaper than buying frozen potato, but at the end we get a fresh and edible side dish no matter if the reason is the latest trend or the economics. But how nice it is that if someone would like to serve cheap food, one gets to the same point where quality is the most important thing. But between these two worlds the rest and most of the world is feeding us with frozen junks.

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Otherwise oil was dripping from the food, maybe because I have been there on Tuesday and maybe they take care of it, but it was neither stale, nor stuffy, nor tasted like fish or any other food, it was simply oil. Richly. Otherwise in connection with the pork chop and the bean soup my statement is the same: not the best one, but good. And huge. It kills me. It defeats you no matter who you are or where you are from. The toff starts in to eat and the food laughs out it loudly. After having eaten it I haven't simply left the restaurant. I had to crawl out of it. And it also takes less than 1000 HUF. That is still just half a liter of mineral water in a Michelin star restaurant - or a quarter- but it means that t is Italian. So it is not the same, but Italians are really good in making pizza so you can imagine their mineral water.


In this league Kádár is still on the top, but Kívánság is quite close to it by looking at the portions and the taste. Though according to the last one Kívánság is a little bit weaker, but the sadder, darker and touchable atmosphere compensates us for everything. If not the atmosphere, then the lower prices.


Kívánság kifőzde
Budapest
Alsó erdősor utca 36.
Tel: 0613521450
Mo-Fr: 11:45-16:00

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Tags: budapest gastro city go-out hungarian cuisine