I even if I had decided that I wasn’t going to spend any money on Haute Cusine restaurants during my visit in Budapest – but when I looked around for places close to my hotel that could be reached by foot … I soon realised that Borkonyha Winekitchen is a MUST. All websites I visit recommended it, so I decided to give it my last evening.
Couldn’t get a better grand finale on my fantastic 5 nights visit to Budapest and I still had money left on my account. It became the most expensive evening, but worth every Hungarian forint and it didn’t cost me more than on a very average restaurant in Sweden. Later I found out that this marvellous restaurant has 1* Michelin star since 2014.
Sas u. 3, Budapest 1051
phone: +36 1 266 0835
Reservation – a must (couple of weeks in advance)
Hungarian – French fusion
Head chef: Ákos Sárközi
12pm-midnight, Mon. – Sat.
Dress code; smart casual
Borkonyha is translated as “wine kitchen” and it is something little different from a classical restaurant, perhaps a wine-bistro-style eatery with a fantastic range of Hungarian dishes with heavy French influences, opened in December 2010.
A bustling wine-orientated restaurant close to the St Stephen’s Basilica … I don’t how many times they turned over the table, some tables up to 3 times. Amazing!!! What buzz, also they have a wine bar – where you could only sit and enjoy wine after wine with some light snacks. Nearly all seats around the counter were taken by wine-goers (all men). Cabinets and cabinets with wines.
Their wine assortment includes 200 different, mostly Hungarian wines that represent not only the well-known wineries but also small and yet-to-be-discovered cellars. They offer 48 wines by the glass at a time and have a temperature-controlled wine shelf with 1200-bottle-capacity so that you could buy wine by the bottle at a reasonable price for either takeaway or drinking it on spot.
Medium sized restaurant in rustic bistro style and with loads of smile – my waiter wasn’t only very handsome – he had a fantastic sense of humour and so service minded. Didn’t have a dull moment in a very relaxed atmosphere and the portions are in perfect size to manage 3 courses. They change their menu every fortnight and they have a set menu too. I went for the a la carte.
Again the restaurant light was too dark for me to get proper images of my dishes, so I have used the restaurant’s professional images from their website, but I couldn’t find any images of the dishes I enjoyed.
I wanted to a vodka & tonic as a pre-dinner drink, but my waiter informed me that I was at a Hungarian restaurant and they don’t make vodka in Hungary. When he recommended Hungarian Pálinka, a traditional fruit brandy I first turned it down because it’s very close to rocket fuel for me – but he said that he will mix it with grape juice and so I gave in. Must say it was a very nice aperitif. What I understand is mostly done by plums, but any fruit can be used.
The drink has centuries-old traditions in Hungary. Formerly called pálinka for “the poor man’s coffee”. Out in the country, they used to start the day by eating an apple and a glass of pálinka before they went to the day’s work.
Rainbow trout and prawn
with garlic purée in sausage sauce
Tenderloin and cheek of boar
with polenta and pickled turnip
Jerusalem artichoke mousse
with white chocolate and cranberries
My starter was beautiful as a piece of art … and so well composed in flavours. As my grandpa would had said, it was “disappearingly good”.
I love game, maybe because my grandpa was a hunter and I had a lot of game during first 10 years. I eat anything!! One of my favourites is moose burgers with mash potatoes and loads of lingonberries, I got that often as a child.
My main course one of the best game dishes I ever had – the meat was so tender and presentation again – superb! There is a lot of love in that kitchen!!!!!
Jerusalem artichoke mousse???!!! I do a chocolate mousse of avocados, so why not!!! Beautifully presented in a glass bowl and if I had been alone in the restaurant I would have licked the bowl. Told my waiter that I could have a couple for breakfast the day after.
Their head chef, Ákos Sárközi and his team, for sure knows their food and products – Ákos have been there since the restaurant opened. One of his working adventures is Portuguese two-Michelin-star Restaurant Villa Joya in Albufeira. The kitchen team created dishes of high quality and elegance, without it’s coming to a gastronomic bill.
My entertaining waiter chose my wines, by the glass .. know nothing about Hungarian wines. Now I know they are very good.
For my starter he chose, Pannonhsimi Prior 2015 – a riesling wine with flavour of citrus and deep colour. A very mature wine, superb choice. I’m not really a riesling fan, but this is a great wine. For wild-boar he chose one of the best red wines I had for a very long time, St. Andrea Nagy-Cuvee. It has a very extremely rich smell with flavours of species, fruit and a little saltiness.
The winery St. Andrea looks like a very nice acquaintance with 9 different vineyards in total, they have their own restaurant that I wouldn’t mind enjoy. Located around Eger, which is a city in northern Hungary, the capital of the province of Heves, east of Mátrabergen. Eger is best known for its castle, temperate baths, historic buildings (including the northernmost Ottoman minaret), and for its red wines.
I had some fantastic dining adventures in Budapest … but this restaurant was the only one what provided me with a linen napkin and that is something very special in my book. I suppose that a Michelin star restaurant wouldn’t get away with paper napkins. Also, my waiter was the only person that served during my stay in Budapest that pointed out that the service charge is included on the bill. Back at my hotel, I checked my bills and they all had service charge included. I would have give tip anyway.
I asked my waiter if they had mostly foreign or local guests, he told me that 90% are foreign guests and 60% of them are Scandinavians – the best guests of all, he also informed me.
But I missed out on visiting their beautiful washrooms … that is on my do-it-note for next visit.
And the damage???!!!! It came to 24.100HUF/€78/£68/$82/743SEK with tip.
“Food for the body is not enough.
There must be food for the soul.”