Dodo’s Restaurant as such was established in February 2020 when owner Dorina Veréb decided to separate the four-star Duna Garden hotel and its restaurant, giving the latter a whole new concept. Located just a ten minutes’ car ride from the city centre, Dodo’s Restaurant welcomes its guests with a spacious terrace right by river Danube, a dock that can serve as a port for 19 small boats, a lavish interior soon to be refurbished in South Hampton style, and the bests of all: fine bistro dishes presented by acknowledged chef Richárd Elek.
Its customer-focused mindset and quality-over-quantity principle are what make Dodo’s Restaurant stand out in the gastro scene of Budapest. The latter not only describes the beautifully served meals well but also the versatile programs the restaurant hosts. In fact, the upcoming live music concerts, puppet-shows for children, roundtable discussions on psychological and literary topics, and book launches prove that Dodo’s Restaurant is becoming part of the cultural life in Budapest.
Even though we could continue praising the colourful event series and location of Dodo’s Restaurant for a few more pages, let us now turn our attention towards the art of gastronomy that characterizes every plate leaving chef Richárd Elek’s kitchen. The menu is made up of traditional Hungarian meals on a whole new level: with a modern twist, using solely high quality ingredients. Elek swears by uniqueness, creativity and detail-orientation. His aim is to not just serve good food but also serve up a gastro experience to the guests, something that they can take home when leaving the restaurant. He has been running the kitchen since November 2019 with seven other cooks helping him make the most out of the mostly locally sourced ingredients. He is also responsible for purchasing the goods necessary for making the meals, most of which come from small Hungarian businesses: for example, the dairy products from Csengő Manufactory, and meats from Szomor Bioeconomy where organic animal farming methods are used.
We were more than excited to visit Dodo’s Restaurant and try its signature dishes this February. Although a two-course lunch menu is available every weekday, we were pleased to taste the chef’s special offers, dishes that can either be found on the á la carte menu or served on such special occasions as Valentine’s Day or the approaching Easter celebrations.
We began our culinary journey with a refreshing starter evoking a bit of summer feels: cold smoked salmon with shrimp carpaccio, basil & green apple mayonnaise, and marinated green apple and fennel slices. Elek kindly explained to us in detail how the light but perfectly harmonizing flavours of this cold entrée are reached: the shrimp is marinated in a 1:1 mix of sea salt and sugar in order to extract its moisture content, which leaves us with a much more sophisticated feel of rawness.
Next up, we were served deliciously tender pork chops with crackling crumbs, coffee & beetroot gel, polenta (a dish made of cornmeal and boiled water), crispy vegetable chips and new wave lentil sauce. After the summery fish starter, we found ourselves among the typical autumnal colours of purple, orange and green complete with well suited flavours.
If this hasn’t been enough, we concluded our restaurant visit with a gorgeous looking apple pie that had nothing to do with the well-known dessert everyone loves – on the outside. What we saw was a coal-dust coloured mirror glaze cake with crushed chocolate on the side, but what we tasted was caramelized white chocolate mousse with cinnamon baked apple puree enriched with some drops of calvados. The funny thing is that it actually evoked the taste of the traditional apple pies our grandmothers liked to make. Our last meal sums up superbly why it’s worth visiting Dodo’s Restaurant: you get to try classic but reconceptualised dishes you cannot find anywhere else.
1203 Budapest, Vízisport u. 12.
Photos by Kriszti Németh – Egy jó kép rólad