Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Budapest Restaurants: Gerbeaud, 100 Eves, Bock Bisztro, Gundel, Gerbeaud, Felemule, Kehli, Laci Konhya, Rezkakas.

We arrived in Budapest just in time for the national holiday celebration.



Where ever possible, I chose very good restaurants that represented the customary, traditional cuisine, rather than restos that were starred in guide michelin, that featured a modern take on Hungarian or intercontinental cuisines.

Gerbeaud

This restaurant was established over 100 years ago.

Roasted house-made sausage, blood sausage and liverwurst sausage with mustard, apple puree and sauerkraut.


Charcoal smoked eggplant tartar, grilled mushrooms, baked bell peppers, dried tomato, baked shallots, arugula, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar accompanied by house-made bread.


Ham hock (also locally known as "pig's knuckle") with house-made sausage, braised cabbage, roasted potatoes with vinegar and lentils with vegetables. This pig's knuckle was one of the very best executed versions that i enjoyed in Budapest (many restos do this dish).


100 Eves

Grilled pike-perch (a speciality of this region), accompanied by a chopped salad.

BOCK BISZTRO

This resto was a surprise and delight. The resto is owned by the Bock Winery. The Bock house wine was very good, but I tasted several wines here, assisted by the very knowledgeable sommelier. The dishes were remarkably well executed, a very sophisticated of the local, rustic-ethnic cuisine. What was most interesting were the "Jewish" references, as they were described to me, the exceptional matzoh ball (yes this is how it was described) and the "Jewish bread pudding" that accompanied the ox cheek. The interesting aspect to these Jewish references, was the abundance of pork on the menu and, this was definitely not a "Jewish" resto.


Meat soup, a very intense broth flavoured with goose neck and goose giblets, both perfectly cooked and very flavourful, carrot, parsnip and the fluffly, light matzoh ball (referred to on the menu as a semolina dumpling but described by the head waiter as a "matzoh ball") which was better than any "Jewish" version that to which I had been previously exposed! 


Goose fat with onions and bell peppers for spreading on bread, accompanied by sel de guerande.


Vegetable soup "csango" style, a sour cream soup flavoured with lemon, with cauliflower florets, carrots, spinach, peas, each ingredient cooked "a pointe".


Hungarian lecso with spicy sausage. The lecso, composed of lots of sweet paprika, bell peppers, garlic and cabbage, is slow cooked for about 12 hours. The rich flavours were a perfect complement for the moderately spicy dried sausage, that when simmered in the lecso, picked up the beautiful flavours. 


This dish which accompanied the dish below, was described by the waiter as a "Jewish bread" pudding, flavoured with chopped scallions, garlic and chopped spinach.


Ox cheek retro style, the juicy cheek was perfectly slow cooked and had an exceptional firm but tender texture.  It was accompanied by a marrow bone filled with a pork ear ragu (pork ear and chopped onions) and topped with a slice of jalapeno pepper.

Walnut cake, which had a bit too much whipped cream for me.

GUNDEL

Gundel is a historical resto. Karoly Gundel was a pioneering restauranteur with exquisite taste, who established a world wide reputation for this resto around 1910. Gundel collected recipes from all over the Carpathian basin and published cookbooks. Gundel's son eventually took over the restaurant, creating a drammatic and luxurious style, increasing the resto's reputation internationally. The resto was nationalized in 1949 then, in 1992, after Hungary was freed from communism, the resto was bought by renown New York restauranteur and Hungarian native, George Lang (the then owner of Cafe Des Artists, in New York), in partnership with Leonard Lauder, son of Estee Lauder.

An ameuse, smoked quail egg topped with salmon caviar.


 A speciality of the resto, foie gras smoked over cherry wood.


Veal shank and  with sliced boiled potato, bok choy and carrot.

The wine we selected for our dessert, a 1983 (one of the 20th century's great vintages of tokaji essencia).


Terrific strudle (and most strudle experiences we tried here in Budapest were rather disappointing with either poor thick tasteless crust or bland fillings). One strudle had an apple filling and the other a cherry filling. 


Pancakes "Gundel" style ( a dish so popular that is was duplicated with the "Gundel" reference, in many restos). Rolled walnut crepes surrounded by a rich dark chocolate sauce.

Rezkakas

This is another restaurant where I found the food very enjoyable. The only issue is the constant music by musicians who rarely take a break and the sound of the music can a bar to friendly conversation. So, if you reserve, ask for your table to be located as far from the musicians as possible.

"Jokai" bean dish with pork knuckle (ham hock). My second favourite version of this dish in Budapest.


Hungarian farmer platter with peas, crispy cheese puffs and various lettuces.


Rosemary pig neck with tomato pearl barley and bacon sauce.


Roasted potatoes with chopped scallions.


Cottage cheese cake with artisan apricot jam.


Kehli

Edward's bean soup with smoked knuckle of pork, presentation.

The soup, with a dollop of sour cream. Hearty and delicious with great flavours!


Duck and tarragon soup, one of the delicious hits of the night.

Marrow bone with toasts and raw garlic. A big marrow bone with perfectly cooked marrow (no photo).



Esztike Levai's stuffed cabbage, stuffed with pig's knuckle, ears and tail, flavoured with lots of paprika, marjoram and Hungarian pepper, topped with a dollop of sour cream (ubiquitous in this country), sliced tomato and a slice of jalapeno pepper. 


Sous vide duck breast that was marinated in red wine, accompanied by potatoes. Great concept, but well overcooked, tough and fibrous....hard to do with this type of cooking technique. Good flavour though.

Potato dumpling with sheep's milk cheese. 

Hungarian lecho with onion, tomato, bell peppers and lots of paprika, all slowly stewed for about 12 hours (no photo). A delicious element in Hungarian cuisine, ased as a complement for certain dishes.



Steamed organic beef with red wine, forest mushroom ragu and roasted potatoes.


Ox back of pest-Buda, Sashegy, with mashed potatoes flavoured with butter, onions and spicy vinegar. The beef is first picked with pine nuts and mustard and sauced with chopped bacon, mushrooms and red wine. 


Gundel pancake sauced with walnut cream and dark chocolate sauce (on the side).

Laci Konhya

Had to take a picture of this wine because of the name. It was good. 


 Sliced ham with house made bread and an olive.


French toast with romaine lettuce. 


A marvelous duck soup with sliced smoked duck breast (that was fortunately not shaved thin, as might be typical anywhere in the world (and unpleasantly), enhancing the duck flavour and texture, accompanied by thin egg noodles and chopped parsley. 


A fabulous breaded pork leg (very juicy chopped meat) in a crispy breaded shell, with chili mayonnaise, chopped scallions and salad greens.


Very flavourful, tender, medium rare, onglet steak with savoy cabbage and kapia paprika.


Pork meatloaf with fried breaded bok choy and sauced with potato veloutee with parsley.

 Semolina pie with mulberry and chantilly cream.

Genoise with cocoa and coffee ice cream.

Felemule

A de rigeur tour of the Jewish Quarter, a community that was once a significant percentage of the country's population in Hungary's major city, is a must for history buffs. I felt, in keeping with this theme, I would try eating at what was claimed, in various foodie magazines, as one of the best kosher restaurants in the world ( frankly that is not saying much in my brief experience with this theme......however....).

Cold egg cream with goose liver and onions. A very tasty dish accompanied by toasts, sliced tomato (the general quality of tomatoes here are better than in Canada), sliced banana (mildly hot) pepper, sliced red onion and sliced pepper (moderately hot, a type that was unfamiliar to me).

Ok, I had to try a traditional dish offered by several restos in the Jewish quarter, cholent, and this dish was "Andrew Singer's cholent plate", consisting of the bean based cholent, sliced, mildly smoked beef brisket and crispy roasted goose leg. it was ok, but, I tasted much better examples of this dish cooked by 2 different members of the Toronto Jewish community.

Just to try, we ordered potato latkes, a shredded potato/onion pancake. Their version was disappointing, being undercooked and lacked the crispy perfection I was used to.





Monday, August 17, 2015

R and D Restaurant

An interesting group of cocktails are offered, such as "Big Trouble in Lower Spadina": toasted hickory infused Pike Creek whiskey, Cinzano rosso vermouth, 5-spice infused amaro Nonino and barrel aged cohiba bitters. Also "510 Caesar": black garlic and chinese mushroom infused Absolut vodka, R and D chili sauce, hoisin infused worcestershire, lapsang tincture and Mott's clamato juice. Another interesting drink: "Sichuan Maple Old Fashioned" with roasted duck infused Lot #40 Whiskey, shishito maple syrup and orange zest.


Tiger skin, fried "chilies" with shaved bonito. The "chilies" were shishito peppers. This was a very good dish and was reordered 4 times!

Shiitake polenta fries were tasty and crunchy, accompanied by mushroom ketchup. Gone before I got my photo. 


Egg rolls filled with chicken, bamboo shoots and pesto, accompanied by sliced lotus root. The egg rolls were crispy and tasty.


Char grilled octopus with choi sum chimichurri sauce and yu heung eggplant. The octopus was tender and perfectly cooked but the sauces rather bland.


Steamed little dragon buns stuffed with spicy sichuan lamb. 


The roasted duck being finished.


Duck duck bao, 76 hour Brome Lake pekin (not "Peking duck", which some guests erroneously thought this was) duck presentation before serving.


The 3 slaws that accompany the duck, meant to be added to the duck slices mounted in the bun: mango, Asian pear and plum; cucumber, scallion and hoisin; cabbage, carrot and ginger.


The delicious duck, after being carved, was perfectly cooked rare, accompanied by smoked plum sauce. But, the skin, "advertised" as being crispy, was not. 


The steamed bao buns for the duck. 


Mushrooms XO fricasse with chopped garlic scapes were so delicious and had a wonderful texture, being correctly cooked....so good, we ordered a second dish.


Eric's curry, beef brisket and Chinese mustard greens, accompanied by coconut rice. The brisket was properly tender and the sauce was quite wonderful, so good that every drop was eaten. 


Very tasty brussel sprouts with puffed rice and black bean butter. Very tasty, perfectly cooked and gone in a flash!


The General Sander's fried chicken was excellent overall, accompanied by a very good waffle with really good Texture. The tasty chicken was properly crispy but a touch dry and over cooked and was accompanied by khung pao sauce and sichuan maple syrup.


Sweet and sour spare ribs with hawthorne, lemongrass and pineapple ginger slaw. I felt the ribs were somewhat dry and did not come off the bone properly with a bight (NB...I do not like "fall off the bone ribs", and these were certainly not that). I also found the sauce rather too sweet, almost cloying.


BBQ pork buns (baked hourly). These got gobbled up very quickly and were reordered as they were so good. The could have used more pork in the bun and the tasty filling was rather meagre.