Since opening for business in March just a short stroll away from the Basilica, Faszaládé is now a place of pilgrimage for Budapest’s meat lovers thanks to its unique selection of specially made succulent sausages created with an intriguing variety of local ingredients... but its risqué name is probably part of the reason behind its fast rise to fame, at least among patrons who understand Hungarian. We stop by this high-quality street-food destination to look beyond the dirty joke that has most Magyars snickering as soon as they read the eatery’s sign.
First, let's clear up the fuss about the name: Faszaládé is a pun on the Hungarian word “szafaládé”, the name of a traditional regional sausage. The trick is that if you take just the first four letters of Faszaládé, that is a very rude Hungarian word for the male member. And it doesn't end there: if you take the first five letters, then you have “fasza”, which is Hungarian slang for “cool”. The men who founded the place – founder Csaba Sajben and partners Attila Kurucz and Zoltán Benkő – first started referring to their restaurant-to-be as Faszaládé as a joke, but in the end the name stuck. After the initial shock, customers are also now used to the impudent name, and checking in on various social-media platforms from Faszaládé has swiftly become a trendy flash of wit.
Csaba’s dad has long been engaged in sausage making, so there was plenty of inspiration for creating high-quality links. Due to the generation gap, father and son went separate ways later: the dad followed the traditional style, while the son started experimenting with these versatile meat products.
The latter is also reflected in the interior design of the eatery’s small parlor on Október 6 Street. Upon entering, the huge sign salvaged from a butcher’s shop, saying “Hús” (“Meat” in Hungarian) instantly clarifies the profile of the place – vegetarians are advised to turn around at once. The tiles on the walls symbolize experimentation as though in a laboratory.
The creation of a sausage variety – i.e. finding the perfect combination of flavors – can take well over a month. Faszaláde buys its ingredients exclusively from small producers, and handles meat with care: all unwanted pieces are removed. The basis is of course the traditional Budapest sausage (790 HUF), but there are also novel products with a twist, like the chicken sausage (1,390 HUF), made of chicken legs with added duck liver.
The sausages are grilled right in front of the guests, over charcoal to give them a unique flavor – so don't be surprised if you smell smoke when entering. Flames are also an everyday part of the process here, and an extraordinary experience for guests. The thorough preparations take time, so don't expect the sausages to land on your plate in just a couple of minutes .
We arrived to Faszaládé before the lunch tsunami, and took Csaba’s advice about choosing which order to sample the sausages, leaving the pudding (made of blood pudding) last. We started with the Szechuan-pepper-seasoned lamb sausage, and our first jab already hinted at a premium product. There was no dripping, nor a puddle of fat – it was so light and soft that we could hardly believe we were eating sausage. Then came the aforementioned chicken sausage with duck liver accompanied by pear mustard and bread, which was our favorite flavor combo.
The second course was the oddly named citromdisznó (lemon-pork) accompanied by a slightly hot sausage – which, luckily, proved to be nowhere near what Dumb and Dumber experienced at Dante’s. The third course was the butcher’s dessert: black pudding roasted on foaming butter, with apple compote and pine nuts. At first glance, it resembled a chocolate cake – and it melted in the mouth like one too, making it perfect even for picky eaters hesitant to devour blood-based delights.
The side dishes go as far as baguettes and pickles, and we recommend opting for the apple spritzer to wash it all down. The rush hour is – surprise, surprise – lunchtime. A portion takes about ten minutes to cook, and you can only take a seat outside. The prices are not exactly cheap, which provoked some criticism: some patrons compared the sausages to those you can buy at traditional Budapest butcher’s shops offered in a larger size and at a third of the price. There is truth in this, but don't forget that at Faszaládé you can be certain of exactly what your sausage consists of, which is a huge plus when considering the nature of this meaty specialty.
In the near future, the currently limited menu will be expanded with so-called test sausages, and the management encourages feedback from those who try these exploratory links. They also plan on introducing an authentic rural breakfast, pálinka brandies, and other meaty Magyar delicacies.