If you are one for trends, you'd say you're following a palaeolithic or a protein-rich diet. Love for meat in various forms is, of course, a weightier argument: we wake to a sausage brekkie, eat sirloin steak for lunch, and dream of a Boston butt dinner. In Budapest, there are more and more spots where they grill and confit, while the sous vide machine keeps on turning. We'd like to dedicate this compilation of three new meaty hotspots to all the carnivores out there.
We visited the sandwich paradise in Nagymező Street shortly after its opening. Meat & Sauce has deeply re-thought transformed everything sandwich. We heartily recommend each and every one of the pre-assembled five sandwiches (duck/beef/fish/pork/chicken) that are sufficient enough to be one-course meals. The saucy sous vide beef (1590 HUF) is bathed in their special sauce once more after having been packed into the baked goods. The confit duck version (1490 HUF) contains roast foie gras as well as duck leg. The minds behind the place spent a great deal of time creating these sandwiche combinations and so far only a few hungry scatterbrains chose to compile their own unique but probably extravagant concoctions. The majority heeds to the skill of the crew and opt for the already existing specialities that operate with proven proportions and flavours.
Our tip is to visit with friends and share sandwiches so you can taste several versions without popping from overeating. Don't forget that these creations are pretty filling despite being sandwiches. You can ask for French fries (390 HUF) or onion rings on the side, but the ciabatta-like buns are enough even as a side dish. Instead of these sides focus instead on the intensive meaty experience. Don't be ashamed to use the tap in the parlour, since it is impossible to devour these sandwiches elegantly. If you're heading to the nearby theatre, time your visit after, to avoid the embarrassment of a stain of a saucy duck bit on your fancy clothes.
Fire Restaurant has a big brother in the form of the Prime Steak House, which has long been on the carnivore map of Budapest. This all means that Fire Restaurant is connected to the best suppliers and the distributors with the most remarkable meat products. Fire Restaurant, however, has a system completely different from Prime's. They have a blend of Rodizio stlye service and buffet tables. So you pay a fixed amount and you can stay for an unlimited time and eat until you have had enough – this is no overstatement. The choreography is the following: the food is served on the buffet table. Here you can find everything from sushi to pasta salads, including capers the size of a plum, classic cold dishes and various greens. Although there is an abundance of delicacies, we'd like to warn you not to get carried away with antipasti, since you won't have any capacity left for meat. The meat arrives to the table on skewers; you also get meat tongs so you can assist the waiter in their job.
The red/green cards, to signal whether you want more of the churrascaria skewers, appear on your table right at the start. You can choose from various side dishes as well, of which we preferred Brazilian rice and fire chips; plus you have several dip options. You can spice up your meat with classical concoctions, or even sweet, fruity chutneys. The meat keeps coming and coming until you flash the red side of the card. The meal is quite an entertaining experience, especially for groups. We shared our dips and side dishes to make it all the more communal. There were chicken legs, wings, meat wrapped in bacon, tenderloin sausages, super saucy fillet mignon, and meaty ribs arriving to our table, and although we used the red card a lot, we tried to taste everything. After the protein overdose, however, all we wanted is was lie down for a siesta. If your trencherman uncle visits, and you want to take him to a chatty dinner out, Fire could be the ideal spot.
Lunch 6900 HUF/person (unlimited buffet table, 5-6 types of meat with side dishes and dips)
Dinner 9900 HUF/ person (unlimited buffet, 10-12 types of meat with side dishes and dips)
Address: 1051 Budapest, Petőfi tér 3-5.
Telephone: +36 70 450 1750
At first we imagined a fancy parlour furnished with crystalline chandeliers and Chesterfield sofas, because the place is called a "boutique." However, once we got the brand new Meat Boutique in Lánchíd Street and read the 'meat with meat' motto, the penny dropped: hocks instead of chandeliers and wooden chopping boards instead of sofas is what you should expect of the place. Chef Attila Balázs was given free rein in the compilation of the menu: the only guideline was meat. The ingredients are mostly of Hungarian origin, with the exception of South American steaks. There's everything from the traditional Wiener Schnitzel to the 400g T-bone. In addition to the soups of the season, the menu also includes the traditional Hungarian goulash soup (1250 HUF), which has a classic taste as if it was cooked in the family's favourite bogrács "cauldron." No thick layer of fat here, instead, you'll find fresh vegetables and delicious beef in a perfectly seasoned soup. Be careful with the wax peppers!
The protagonists at Meat Boutique are the grilled, confit, smoked and sous vide meats, of which we first tasted the pork hocks (3190 HUF) with onion mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage. The crunch of the hock's skin resembled the fake sound effect of the crunch of the chocolate layer on a chocolate coated ice cream in an annoying American ice cream commercial. The meat itself was soft as it should be. The pork loin (bone-in) (3190 HUF) was also perfect. This is a promising spot with a beautiful panorama, where it is all right to use your hands when eating hocks, should the knife and fork prove insufficient. Thanks to its bistro-like style, you can also pop in for a steak tartare at a late hour toward the end of the working week.