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 April 2015, English translations courtesy of:

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Petit Café – what it would be like if food carts caught on in Budapest

2015.08.13. 16:06 | Gergő Helpers

Those who have walked along Király Street in recent weeks have probably come across this:

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Or, from a closer angle:

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Yes, we’re talking about a café and bicycle in one, or rather, a mobile coffee shop. They ride over here at 9 in the morning and sit around until 5 in the afternoon, when they ride home with all their equipment, generator and all.

Yup, they also have a generator, since for the time being they haven’t managed to get electricity from the neighboring stairwell. It’s a long story that one of the owners Gábriel doesn’t wish to discuss, so let’s just call it bureaucracy. But, we should mention there were no problems in acquiring permits from District VII. The café rents the area from the local government, which in Hungarian terms was quick to grant approval: it only took two and a half months to issue the necessary permits.

Because grabbing a coffee from a bicycle and slurping it as you walk, now that’s cool. It’s the kind of thing you can only do in District VII, on Király Street’s left side, since the other side of the street is District VI, which isn’t as forthcoming with operating permits.

But can’t we all agree it’s a nice addition to the street?

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Well, isn’t it?

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The café au lait is a bit watered down, the treat you can get on the side is a store-bought Marlenka, but we’re not expecting the height of culinary achievements out of a place as cute as this. I waited five minutes for a coffee, because the generator refused to start, but that was not a problem, as it gave us time for a quick chit chat.

Petit Cafe
Address: Király utca - Csányi utca corner

 

 

Translation provided by Helpers Business and Immigration Services. Find us at www.helpers.hu

You may find the original article here.


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Pörc: The necktied butcher

2015.08.10. 11:58 | Gergő Helpers

To be honest, I wanted to write this post back in the winter when Pörc, which is originally from Balatonkenese, first appeared in Budapest. The place was famous for selling quality cuts of meat in an area not exactly famous for quality ingredients (even though they produce some excellent cheeses, salamis and hams, there aren’t any stores to sell them), and also because the owner was famous for wearing a necktie as he greeted his guests.

Jenő Kocsis didn’t become a butcher on a spur of the moment decision, for he is the scion of a dynasty of butchers that goes back roughly 150 years, and a person who decided to focus on quality ingredients for his customers. This of course also brings in return customers as people are far more likely to remember a sales person who wears a tie and provides good service than the one who can’t be bothered with appearances.

These two characteristics were enough for Pörc to be one of the big hits of last year, which made an appearance in Budapest outside of the beach season to guarantee income throughout the year. It opened in Lövőház Street, where more and more exciting things are going on all the time. If you’re in Buda and looking for some light, good food, you absolutely should check this area out.

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Jenő brought the winning Balaton formula to Budapest, for the shop is elegant, the products are sensational and you can find some real rarities among them. Sausages, salamis and bacon fill the shop, which is so elegant that you could display jewelry instead of meat from behind the counter without needing to redecorate.

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There are some easy to recognize items such as beef wieners, which actually contain real meat, quality liverwursts, but you’ll also find bacon wrapped in meat and wrapped side-rib, and there’s also greaves and crackling. The prices are quite acceptable as well: most of the cuts are priced at below 3,000 forints per kilo, and if something costs more, you won’t find it cheaper anywhere else. The smoked salami costs 600 forints per dekagram (100g), and the winter salami isn’t much cheaper.

The good news is that you can taste samples in person, and if you compliment something on its quality, they’ll give you some spare cuts. They also prepare sandwiches, and in truth they’ll create something out of whatever you may desire. I suggested they invent something new and not long after I was presented with this:

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At first, it didn’t inspire much confidence, looking like something I could throw together myself in five minutes at home. But as you begin to eat it, you’ll arrive at the goose breast fillet and find yourself in a different dimension: this is the most expensive cut they sell in the store, at 850 forints for ten dekagrams, but it’s so good and intense, that it’s worth the price. You don’t just wolf this down like you would bologna, you’ll eat it in small bites, so it lasts as long as four times as much of something else would.

Pörc BUDA
Address: Lövőház utca 27.
Telephone: +36-70-280-4182
Mon-Fri: 8 am – 8 pm
Sat: 8 am – 2 pm

 

Translation provided by Helpers Business and Immigration Services. Find us at www.helpers.hu

You may find the original article here.

 


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The costume designer who makes me love buying clothes for my wife

2015.08.02. 19:18 | Gergő Helpers

Fashion is not a topic that we really discuss on the blog. Part of the reason for this is that we can’t say we’re all that knowledgeable about it, not to mention that we’re men, and the picture below pretty much illustrates everything we know about the topic:

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In contrast to this, women are spoiled for choice, and I’m not thinking merely of cuts or colors, but that they can fundamentally change their appearance. Pants, a skirt, a dress, a shirt, blouse, t-shirt, and other items I have no clue about.

It’s always pleasing to see the final result, but unfortunately the first steps of this process are quite boring and dragged out: shopping. Fortunately, my wife Évi does not spend hours browsing clothes stores (ok, at least not more than two), but when we go to a mall to shop for clothes, I do just as other men do. I begin by shopping for myself, then I collapse into a quiet apathy on a bench, punching away at my phone. The upshot is she doesn’t really take me with her anymore.

With one exception. There’s one clothing designer whose clothes I love to check out, give to Évi to try on, and then jump for joy when she likes it. It’s none other than Pipetta Knitwear.

Their clothes are like works of architecture or an exciting façade. The designer plays with the material’s wrinkles and way it sits so that the item of clothing deserves its own team of structural engineers. The clothes become tighter in some unique areas and expand in even more unusual places. I suppose I must have a wrinkle fetish or something.

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I first met Katalin Nádasdi at a WAMP design fair, after Évi had previously ordered some clothes from her online. I already found the clothes to my liking at the time, and then later we visited the Pipetta workshop: it’s located in a block of flats in District XVI.

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Kati launched the brand in 2002 with her friend Imola Farkas. She graduated from high school with a specialization in drawing, becoming a women’s clothing preparer, later attending the Budapest Technical College before graduating from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in 2005. This goes some way toward explaining why I love to see her work on Évi:

I look for structure in clothes.

And that’s it. It’s what I look for in buildings, in clothes, in wine and in music. Of course, you can take it to such extremes that no one will wear your clothes, at least not in public. But Kati’s clothes are the type you can easily wear.

And Kati also has this to say about her clothes:

She works with finely looped materials combined with woven fabrics.

But since I don’t exactly understand what she means, I won’t add further comment. The most important thing for me is the structure.

Here are some professional photos of her other work, not featuring Évi.

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And this is Kati:

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You can meet the designer at one of the WAMP design fairs, or you can get in touch with her via Facebook.

Disclaimer: We visited the workshop without mentioning our blog, and we’ve purchased all of the clothes ourselves, because that’s the type of guys (or in this case girls) we are.

Translation provided by Helpers Business and Immigration Services. Find us at www.helpers.hu

You may find the original article here.

Tags: fashion clothes


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The first year anniversary of one of Budapest’s best and worst memorials

2015.07.29. 11:08 | Gergő Helpers

There’s this “thing” on Szabadság Square, which was erected a year ago in total secrecy in memory of the German occupation, and which has serious shortcomings both aesthetically and with respect to its message.

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It’s quite kitsch and looks as if the construction manager of a gated community decided that what was really missing was a faux-ancient decoration, not to mention that the Germans are represented as an evil eagle and the Hungarians as the Archangel Gabriel, which is quite inaccurate considering that many local officials and residents showed a disconcerting proclivity for ratting out their Jewish neighbors and acquaintances, of whom the majority were sent to Nazi death camps. Most people don’t realize that the largest “Hungarian cemetery” is actually Auschwitz, where Hungarians were the largest ethnic group among the victims. There were even occasions when the Nazis asked the Hungarian authorities to ease up with the trains since they couldn’t keep up the pace.

But let’s get to the point: the awful memorial that cost more than 200 million forints has been surrounded by one of Budapest’s most exciting and frequently discussed memorials, which cost exactly nothing.

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It was built by the relatives and friends of the deceased, the actual victims of the German occupation, with whom there was little discussion when the official memorial was prepared. But it doesn’t actually matter, if they hadn’t built that angel-eagle thing, this wouldn’t exist either. Left in memory of the Jewish victims, you will see pebbles, small shoes, luggage, letters and books that combine to form a memorial that even the best museum team could not have put together. This was assembled piece by piece and it contains everyone’s personal story, tragedy and memory. This mosaic comes together to paint something honest and personal, which avoids the kitsch and unnecessary pathos found in the state’s constructions. Many died: family members, adults, kids and the relatives, friends and descendants left behind recall them as they wish, not how they are told to. If you walk by there, stop for a moment to take it all in. It’s well worth your time.

 

Translation provided by Helpers Business and Immigration Services. Find us at www.helpers.hu

You may find the original article here.

Tags: cult city


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A great lunch where you would never expect it – Castro Bistro

2015.07.24. 12:31 | Gergő Helpers

Following up on our sightseeing in Madrid post, let’s get to a lunch in Budapest prepared by the chef who joined us in the Spanish capital with his wife as the winner of the Vodafone competition.

No, really!

During our trip, we learned that our traveling companion Jani is the chef at Castro Bistro, which I can’t say excited us all that much at first, since when we thought of Castro, what came to mind was a couple of laid back beers in the evening or a place to grab a coffee in the morning as you look onto Madách Square. We’d only consider ordering food here if we were really hungry or had no energy to walk elsewhere.

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But while we were in Madrid, Jani began telling us of the weekly menu, and Csaba and I were soon rethinking things. These are some of the things we heard:

  • Ginger sorrel with jalapeno-infused wheat dumpling
  • Venison stew with cranberries cooked with juniper and served with crispy potatoes and arugula
  • Turmeric green asparagus soufflé and spinach brown rice rolls with a warm pineapple white tea sauce
  • Chicken breast strips fried in cashew-pumpkin seed crumbs and served with a Greek peasant salad and new potato chips
  • Tuna fillet wrapped in sundried tomato and Balkan cheese and steamed in paprika skin, served with early summer mixed salad and pistachio basmati rice

 

These are the lunchtime menu mains, with a three-course meal costing 1,200 forints. The dishes come from peoples and regions all over the world, and are all described in such a way that you end up feeling like one of Pavlov's dogs. We were instantly hungry, which was something only a Madrid tapas bar could remedy.

I still had some reservations when I paid a visit to Castro unannounced and ordered the following:

  • Forest mushroom cappuccino with pumpkin seed
  • Chicken leg fillet with Turkish olives and red lentils, served with lovage cottage cheese dumplings and colored peppercorn Brie sauce
  • Strawberry crepes with mango sauce

This is what they brought out:

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Behind the fancy names we found familiar flavors. The cappuccino was the soup, the hasé we could have mistaken for a kifli, and the crepe wasn’t all that different from the Hungarian variety, which in all reality, doesn’t differ that much to begin with. But this was immensely superior to the ones they sold on the street in Montmartre for 2-3 euros each.

The soup was flawless. Jani knew exactly that the cream needed a little crunchy pumpkin seed, but he did not stop there, for he topped it with high quality pieces of pastry. Regarding the main, I was particularly happy that he went with the chicken leg, which has become quite overlooked lately and which was presented in an inspired way, while the dumpling and red lentils were an excellent side. The crepe was a worthy way to close the feast.

For me, Castro Bistro has become not just a small beacon with respect to its lunch menu, but a major lighthouse. I’m not saying Jani’s kitchen is better than all of the other restaurants in Budapest, just that for this price and in such nice surroundings, you won’t get a meal as good as this anywhere else.

Castro Bistro
Address: 1075 Budapest Madách Imre tér 3.
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 11 am - midnight, Fri-Sat 11 am – 1 am

 

Translation provided by Helpers Business and Immigration Services. Find us at www.helpers.hu

You may find the original article here.

Tags: gastro lunch lunch menu


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