Budapest is nobody’s secret anymore, it’s in all of the ‘where to go’ lists for folks wanting something new. Having gone over there late November last year, it lives up to the hype, as a city that is drenched in the romance of its own architecture. Folks compare it to Paris, except you can afford a hotel room in the city centre. It’s a capital you can wonder around and get lost in; each street will have you walking slowly, looking upwards at the buildings. It’s not a weekend break, Budapest deserves, scratch that, demands your time, book a week off. It has a million posts on a millions sites, that can inform and intrigue you better than I can on a city which has a million lines on it and will have a million more.
But I can do one thing, I can inform and intrigue you where to eat there. Actually where you really ought to eat. Where you must eat, if I only give you one place. I mean, if you only if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.
May I introduce you to Urban Betyar, modern day Budapest standing up with the world’s best. Let’s nail one question I’m sure you are chisling onto your wall; Betyar, what the fuck is that? Betyar’s were Hungarian Highwaymen, bandits or social bandits, to give a direct translation. They were romantised into Hungarian Folklore as stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, think Robin Hood. This also gives the clue as to the restaurants snap, Hungarian folk.
The restaurant itself is roughly a 5 minute walk from St Stephens Basilica, tucked away on Oktober street, which boast a flock of other restaurants and cafe’s. It’s warm and inviting inside, particularly when coming in from the dry cold of late Novemember Budapest.
The restaurant inside is quite like nothing you would have ever seen before. It’s warm and modern with the sleek black walls, we felt damn trendy in this place. However, the uniqueness lies where the modern look collides with the giant wooden apparatus centre piece, for you see, this restaurant double up as a visitor centre for Hungarian Folk history. A visit to the toilets here, is not complete without a gander at the exhibit of Hungarian rural folk, located handily just outside of sed toilets.
Start of the exhibit..a wonderous world awaits you…that pee can wait!
You may walk in and find yourself gawking at the place, that’s perfectly fine as they know how to take care of their guests. The wait staff service is impeccable, they can get your coats off and whisked to your seats with a drink menu in your hand, before you know it. In Budapest, you can get around speaking English, they have a good grasps of the language and the wait staff here are no exception. In fact it was the best service I can remember having on holiday, our waiter was personable and charamastic. After a few beers, recommended by him, I was convinced by the thought that we were gonna be best friends. A tribute to the guys charm…..and his beer recommendations.
Those booze suggestions started with Hungarian Lager to Craft Pale Ale eventually going past Kentucky Bourbon beer and to my vague recollection a coffee stout. All delightful, although I’m willing to admit a heavy coffee stout may not have been the wisest move, in the back end of a 3 course meal. On the wine front, the lady had some very nice Hungarian wines recommended to her aswell, concluding with a sweet dessert wine, which was on the lady’s Hungary must list, it didn’t disappoint.
Of course I wouldn’t bang the door on this place if the food didn’t sucker me in. Above and below are images of the foods last known whereabouts, before its timely demise. The one item, which danced with my pallet so beautifully was the soup, pictured up top. Mushroom and cappuccino soup presented in a cappucinno cup, a combination I wouldn’t have thought of putting together but it was exquisite, damn divine. I’d happily have that every day if I could, best soup I’ve had anywhere.
The lady had her starter of traditional Hungarian fish goulash soup. Which had some nice theatre to it. The dish is first presented to you as just the fish on the dish, then out of a white China jug, the waiter pours the soup over the fish. It’s not that special on its own, but these little things really demonstrated that the restaurant really put some thought into their food, how its revealed and presented. This goes a long way in turning a ‘good meal’ into a memorable night, worth saying the soup punched up with flavour.
Mains were given a hard act to follow, my Hungarian Paprika chicken went surprisingly well with bourbon infused larger. On the subject of paprika, it’s kinda Hungary’s food gimic, so expect to see it everywhere, it’s to Hungary what Maple Syrup is to Canada. All the shops have them it vast stock, it’s a good spice to grab for home as they offer different variations of the stuff, and it goes well with a lot of homecooks.
Back at the Betyar, the lady won in the mains, sweet mash with chorizo and steak, with some paprika stuff in there somewhere (it’s everywhere afterall). Beautifully cooked rib eye steak with that mash and chorizo I was jealous, jealous it was her main and that I was too full to hoover up her left overs.
I know we had dessert and that it was quite heavy but not sure what not exactly was looking back at a hazy nighy. Highlight of that portion of the evening, was as our waiter listed off the dessert options, but insisted one of them his grandma made them better than the restaurant. At this point, I was pondering whether or not I could adopt him.
Following some complimentary drinks and a sobering moment looking at the bill, we rolled out back through the cold Hungarian night, our path lit up by the whimsical Christmas markets. If you plan to bump around Budapest, go during the Christmas markets, they are villages in themselves, I fell in love with othe one surround the aforementioned Basillica.
Summing up Urban Betyar, it trumpets itself with its flag waving of Hungary’s folk past and it’s menu is born and grounded out of that. However what’s presented to you is much more evolved, in its theatre, presentation and powerful flavour combinations, results in a restaurant that stands out in a city with a thousand options for food. Couple that with its sleek modern interior and friendly attentive service, UB strikes out as a leading light in a city which is a modern emerging jewel of Europe. So, if you’re there, you gotta go here, Urban Betyar.
When we went? November 2016
Is this place still open? As of checking July 2017, yes it is.
Price? Actually not that bad to what I alluded to earlier but if you go full hog like we did it will cost some for yet silver.
Any other eats? Christmas markets has everything, try the fried cheese balls. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.