A prestigious historic building spreads across the base of the Buda Castle, boasting an enviable view of Budapest. Bárkert Bistro recently moved into this unique environment, and instead of white tablecloths and snobbery, they provide a modern and elegant bistro atmosphere, ceiling-high windows and plants, and exciting fusion cuisine. The atmosphere might be reminiscent of a grand café from 1970s America, but we felt right at home here during a recent visit.
Bárkert Bistro opened in the southern wing of Várkert Bazaar just one month ago, rejuvenating the promenade’s historic buildings with an elegant-yet-casual bistro reminiscent of the grand coffeehouses of America in the ’70s, targeting both locals and foreign guests. It’s no secret that prices are somewhat high here, but in exchange, we can drop by for lunch, dinner, or even an afternoon coffee and cake amid a scene of relaxing splendor.
We spent the first few minutes of our visit by admiring the beautiful interior design – the high ceiling, tall windows, and sleek mirrors on the wall. The decorative flora is monumental, too, as the various plants ensure an urban jungle vibe. The decoration is right on point: the cut flowers on the wooden tables and gilt chandeliers suggest great attention to detail.
However, nice looks amount to nothing without quality content. Fortunately, both aspects are most definitely present at Bárkert, as indicated by the serious concept behind its culinary delicacies: classic Hungarian dishes get twisted and fused with others, resulting in unique creations such as the goulash soup with lime and coriander, or tiramisu fused with mákos guba. Although the menu was influenced by the cuisine of numerous nations, the Italian-Hungarian line seems to be the strongest. This is no coincidence, as the kitchen is occupied by Italian chefs who first master, then upgrade the classic Hungarian recipes.
This leads to rather exciting flavor combinations, and we couldn’t resist tasting the menu’s most bizarre-sounding items first. The Bárkert Goulash (1,950 HUF) is rich in flavor and works surprisingly well with lime. Next, we tried the goat-cheese mousse (1,850 HUF), where the cylindrical, creamy cheese is coated with caramelized hazelnuts and served with watercress salad. The cheese is imported from Spain, and interestingly tastes both salty and sweet.
We moved on to the main dishes and ordered an unconventional paprika chicken (3,500 HUF) with sliced chicken seasoned with Indian spices, served on a bed of green spinach nokedli. For dessert, we tasted the creamy, not-too-sweet fusion of mákos guba and tiramisu (1,150 HUF), which combined the flavors of coffee, poppy seed, and cocoa in one cup.
The menu is short but succinct – we found it difficult to choose from its single page of offers, featuring dishes such as the ravioli stuffed with ricotta and sorrel (3,450 HUF), or the Bárkert Gourmet Burger (3,350 HUF), made with pulled duck and goat cheese. In the future, we can expect brunches, wine dinners, and live music in the evening, all of which we’ll be able to enjoy on the terrace, featuring a great view of the Chain Bridge, the Danube, and the Vigadó concert hall in the background.