It is kind of an unwritten rule that whenever you travel abroad, you have to try the local cuisine.
With that being said, when in Hungary, experimenting with Hungarian gastronomy is a must. And in case you are looking for the right place where disappointment is not an option, fresh-on-the-scene Andrássy is definitely a place to go. Located just a stone’s throw away from Oktogon, the Hungarian restaurant opened only a few weeks ago, inviting everyone interested in good Hungarian cuisine, foreigners and locals alike. We paid a visit not long ago to make sure it is as good as its reputation suggests, and thankfully, our expectations were fulfilled beyond our thoughts.
After having a few words with owner Miklós Forrai, who is so passionate about promoting Hungarian gastronomy all around the world, it’s not hard to understand why Andrássy’s concept works so well. He is a returning guest in 11 countries’ gastronomy-related events where his team prepares the most known Hungarian delicacies to attendants open to experiment with another nation’s cuisine. Only the bests get the chance to represent their own countries in front of an international audience, and Miklós is very proud of being invited to more and more cities as the word spreads about their taste-bud pleasing Hungarian meals.
Andrássy is a modern, bistro-style restaurant with tasteful interior, cosy lights and refined details. As you enter, you find yourself in an elegant bar with an impressive wooden wine rack that covers the whole wall behind the counter. This is the first “section” of Andrássy. Walking towards the inside of the place, in an elevated floor, there is a classic restaurant area, and if you don’t want to stop there, the innermost part of the restaurant, aka the library-inspired lounge is still there to discover. The menu is short but creative, guests can choose from signature Hungarian meals like goulash with a twist, layered potatoes, venison ragout, duck liver, aspic and a Hungarian cold cut selection, just to mention a few. The ingredients are sourced from local meat and vegetable producers, and the wine, which is given a prominent role in the restaurant, is also coming from Hungarian wineries.
Falling for its cosiness, we decided to take a seat at one of the tables in the lounge area, surrounded by English and Hungarian books in an environment where we could easily picture ourselves working with our laptop. After asking for a recommendation from our attentive waitress, the two of us ended up ordering a main course and a dessert each. It was lunchtime, but we didn’t have to wait too much until the dishes were served to us on the coverless table. My companion chose layered potatoes, an oven-baked, savoury meal in which pre-cooked potato, boiled egg and sausage slices are carefully layered on top of each other, with sour cream. It was everything we wanted: flavours came together in perfect harmony, and the fresh, chopped chives sprinkled on top added an unexpected surprise factor.
The other dish we opted for was the Hungarian cold cut selection: three different types of bread toppings (mildly piquant venison salami, head cheese, Mangalitsa ham) were brought to us, tastefully placed on a wooden plate, smelling heavenly. It is the perfect option if you want to get a taste of our version of tapas. Turning to desserts, cottage cheese dumplings and our so called winter ice cream were both dreamy. The latter is a chocolate mousse filled into a waffle cone, with crunchy nuts, raspberries and other forest fruits, while the other, the incredible cottage cheese dumplings (cooked in milk, served cold) were likewise delicious. It was served in a heavenly cream of which we couldn’t get enough of, accompanied by blueberry, red currant and raspberry to balance the sweetness of the dessert.
Even though these meals were not totally new to us, we enjoyed the experience and had such a pleasant time. It totally justifies that trying new food might be the best part of traveling, but not only tourists are welcome at Hungarian restaurants. Expats and locals, you are also in for a treat at Andrássy!
1061 Budapest, Andrássy út 41.
Photos: Andrássy Food & Wine