We all know of Budapest as a fun city, full of must-see attractions such as the Fisherman’s Bastion and the thermal baths, and with an exciting night life. But what really surprised me in Budapest was the food – from hearty comfort food in the markets to high end restaurant menus, it was all great quality grub. I loved everything I ate during my weekend in Budapest (and you can read what else I got up to here), but there was one particular meal that was unforgettable, at what must be one of the best restaurants in Budapest: KönyvBár.
We originally walked in to a different restaurant which we had passed earlier on our way to the hotel and had advertised live jazz music (Billy and I have a soft spot for jazz on holiday). Unfortunately when the musician started up shortly after we had been handed menus and told that the dish that had caught my eye from the menu outside had sold out, her singing was so awful that we had to leave. But it was all for the best because we stumbled upon KönyvBár a few doors down and, upon asking for a table, we were told that a reservation was usually required buy there had just been a cancellation. The first thing that struck us was the interior which felt really cosy and welcoming, and had walls lined with books.
The idea of this restaurant is that each week a set menu is themed around a book, and this week it was Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. You can either choose the set menu or select from the à la carte menu, but of course we went for the themed set menu with wine pairing – definitely the right decision.
Course 1 – The Sea
Representing the sea, our first course consisted of octopus carpaccio with ginger, grapefruit and a wakame salad. Each of the flavours and textures perfectly complimented each other in this delicate and refreshing starter. If this was setting the bar for other restaurants in Budapest I was starting to think about moving here!
Course 2 – Soup in Pot
Our second course was duck soup with rosemary, pickled pumpkin and sour cream. To be honest I don’t usually go for soups as I get bored eating them, but there was so much going on with this one and I devoured every mouthful! The duck was so tender and there was loads of it.
Course 3 – First Kill
This was absolutely the best course of the meal! We had goat with sweet potato, carrot, and some sort of puree which tasted unreal. Whenever I’ve had goat before the bones have annoyed me, but this must have been a totally different cut and was just pure, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meat. By this point I was starting to feel a little full but I didn’t let that stop me from pretty much licking the plate clean when no-one was looking.
Course 4 – Chicken Spit
My favourite thing about this course was the presentation, which was really well done! It was roast baby chicken, shoestring veg, beetroot, chilli mango sauce and spicy yoghurt. Luckily after worrying I wouldn’t be able to eat any more after course 3, I got my second wind and once again ate every last bite.
Course 5 – Cannibal Feast
The final course is supposed to be apple pie with raspberry sauce (I think it’s the red sauce that gives it the name of Cannibal Feast), but I’m allergic to a lot of fruit so was given a cheese board instead. By this point I really was full to bursting but our waiter kindly boxed up my cheese to enjoy later, and boy did I enjoy it! Billy still had the Cannibal Feast and reported that it was also very good.
Not only was the food incredible and the portion sizes seriously generous, the service was also outstanding. Our waiter was constantly on hand to talk through each course, and when we finished our glass of paired wine (which the waiter was very knowledgeable about) before our food we were always topped up. Everything about this Budapest restaurant really was perfect, including the price tag (it worked out at less than £50 each for 5 courses and wine pairing!!).
So if you’re looking for restaurants in Budapest do not miss out on this one!
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Credit to KönyvBár for the chicken picture as I got too excited and forgot to take a picture of this one!