I think I might be a terrible friend or maybe just antisocial. Thanks to two of the most awesome people in the world deciding to get married, I found myself in Budapest with a couple of dozen similarly awesome people (my friends have good taste in their friends, obviously!). And presented with this amazing opportunity to hang out and have fun, I chose instead to wander off on my own for dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, possibly my first ever.
Borkonyha Winekitchen is centrally located in Budapest and as I arrived just as evening service was beginning, I managed to get a table without a reservation. This is one of the (many) advantages of solo travel, it’s usually possible to get a table for one and, if not, no one else is disappointed If you do really plan to eat at Borkonyha though, I would really recommend that you reserve a table – it is very popular. There is a small terrace in the street and more seating available in the smartly designed interior.
There is a tasting menu available with five courses and that comes with the option of wine pairings. However, I had spotted a couple of things on the à la carte menu that just sounded too good to miss so I settled for a mere three courses.
First thing to arrive though was the bread. Oh my goodness, the bread – it’s the quickest way to win my approval and, boy, did they succeed.
There were three kinds (from left to right): honey and cashew, black sesame, and cumin seed. All delicious but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the cumin seed was my favorite.
Next was the amuse-bouche (a gift from the chef).
Apple prepared with pistachios, hazelnut oil and cream cheese. My bouche was indeed amused.
For starter, I selected duck liver served with carrot, cherry and what was described as a yeast crunchy (it turned out to be a kind of crisp).
The duck liver was cooked to perfection and simply melted in the mouth, and the accompanying flavors were sublime. There looks like there was a lot of room on the plate but the portion was the right size especially with the wonders that were still to come.
For the main course, I chose one of the daily specials – red snapper with zucchini and green peas.
I have no idea what the accompanying sauce was (it definitely involved butter) but I would happily eat it for the rest of my life. It was so good!
The pièce de résistance however was the dessert described as raspberry, licorice, black sesame.
Just look at it! Heaven on a plate. I know licorice is a controversial choice but it’s one of my favorite things. I don’t know where to begin describing the dessert, there were so many flavors, each of them amazing. The cerise puddle in the middle was an intense blast of raspberry flavor and it was complemented by the million things accompanying it. The highlight for me though was the black and white spherical things, there was definitely black sesame involved but beyond that it is a delicious, scrumptious, tasty mystery.
All this cost me 15,200 HUF (about €47) so while it was a huge treat, I haven’t blown my food budget for the whole trip. The five-course tasting menu was 23,000 HUF (€71) or 40,000 (€124) with wine pairings.
And I did meet everyone for drinks afterwards so maybe I’m not such a terrible friend. I think I may visit Borkonyha again next time I’m in Budapest (which is conveniently soon).
H-1051 Budapest, Sas Utca 3
(Closed Sundays and holidays)