For a while, we’ve been daydreaming about a morning when there’s no rush. After closing our eyes for a second, we picture ourselves sitting by a table full of tasty food in a relaxing space, with chill café music in the background.
This month we relived our precious vision at Kalitka (meaning: bird cage), a bistro-shop-gallery that opened just a few weeks ago in downtown Budapest, a few minutes away from Szent István Basilica. It is spacious enough to function both as a shop and a restaurant, selling stylish Maians shoes, Art On Me clothing items designed by a talented Hungarian designer, as well as beautifully served, filling and flavourful meals. The place is a feast for the eyes: you feel the urge to look and walk around, because there are so many exciting details to discover, from the sleigh dining chairs to the industrial lamps, different bird cages, the rocking-horse, or the bicycle on the brick wall. And we haven’t even mentioned the monthly changing exhibition of local artists.
After taking a closer look inside Kalitka, we sat down at a nicely set table near the entrance, ready for brunch. Looking at the menu, our stomach growled. Should we start the day with ham and eggs, a filling English breakfast, frittata filled with goat cheese, spinach and bacon, or a salmon-cucumber-drill-ricotta sandwich? It wasn’t an easy choice to make. Finally, two meals caught our eyes: Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella and Hungarian ratatouille. While our delicious meals were being prepared, we imbibed a glass of classic, fruitful lemonade, and found out that Kalitka has a free luggage store and also operates a delivery service, offering 4 types of breakfast packages with a slice of cake and freshly squeezed orange juice included.
Before sharing our gastro experience, let us tell you that we were blown away by the presentation of everything that we ordered that day. The attention to detail was incredible, as well as the versatility of food decorating ingredients. Our Caprese salad looked (and tasted) like a dream: the colourful dish prepared from different types of tomatoes plus light and creamy mozzarella (coming straight from Italy) was served on a concrete-grey plate with basil leaves, edible flower petals, and sliced black olives, with baguette as a side. Hungarian ratatouille, a vegetable stew that we call lecsó looked similarly mouth-watering, and oh, how flavourful it was! The seasoning was perfect, and tomato, paprika, the boiled eggs and the heavenly sausage slices created a very well-balanced flavour. Believe us when we say: their lecsó is a must-try, so if you are vegetarian, ask for the sausage-free option.
The dessert counter was calling our names too, so one of us digged a fork into Kalitka’s specialty, a signature sweet treat: a vanilla-soaked brioche served with “Mom’s jam”, almond slices, icing sugar and colourful, dry flower petals. It was as awesome as it sounds: the sweetness of the brioche and the mild sourness of the jam created a brilliant combo. The other delicacy, a chocolate mousse was also home-made with a list of creative twists; on top of the chocolate cream they put a layer of cookie crumbles, sour cherry compote, and as garnish, dry flowers and fresh lemon balm. Truly, it was a masterpiece. If you get the chance to taste it, do in a way that you have a layer of everything on your spoon; it will definitely wow your taste buds.
Based on what we’ve eaten, it is safe to say that Kalitka’s staff and management are as professional as can be. We’ve had a blast in every possible way and can’t wait to return and try something else from the bistro’s inviting repertoire. Until next time, Kalitka!
Opening hours: 8 AM to 8 PM
Photos: Kriszti Németh – Egy jó kép rólad