Surrounded by trees and singing birds in the Buda Hills, the sister restaurant of downtown Pest’s Bock Bistro has a completely different setting than its urban sibling, but with innovative Magyar chef Lajos Bíró in charge of both kitchens, a menu of traditional Hungarian gastronomy prepared with modern twists is something that the two locations have in common. Many long-forgotten dishes of Hungarian cuisine appear a bit differently on the plates at Buda’s Vendéglő a KisBíróhoz: these dishes are a stripped down, lighter version, made with domestic producers’ ingredients, and served beautifully.
Pest had its Bock Bistro for 12 years now, and even though the name Vendéglő a KisBíróhoz can be confusing for some, the Buda side also have been rocking its own restaurant for a number of years. We visited the latter to ask renowned chef Lajos Bíró, who has a very clear vision of a good kitchen, about the latter. We should look for the concept by starting from the question: what happens when there’s a need for a good goulash soup or pörkölt? Well, for example, one can come here. Indeed, what Kisbíró has to offer us is modern versions of long-forgotten or commonplace dishes of Hungarian gastronomy. It’s modern because it adapt to today’s needs and gets on the plate in a much lighter version, using high quality oil and obtaining the ingredients from the best domestic producers. Lajos, for example, often visits the Fehérvári Street Market, and the other chefs often start the day similarly, as well.
But let’s end the theoretical talk; we’d like to present just a few examples to show why the Bock Bistros are worth a visit for a pleasant lunch or dinner with a family. There is, for example, goose foie gras sushi, pheasant soup with two types of dumplings, veal goulash, or beef tenderloin “Budapest” style, all with some kind of a twist. What’s even better is that we don’t have to worry about leaving with an empty stomach – the rib eye steak, for example, weighs around 500-600 grams.
In Buda, they have thematic weekends, with fish in the focus on Saturday, when fish soup bubbles in the pot and 4-5 kinds of fish fry to crispy. On Sundays, they have a so-called “Svábhegy lunch”, with foods from the peacetimes that only grandmas can cook right – and Bock. By the way, the restaurant has a fixed menu, monthly offers and a weekly chef’s offer, as well. In the spring months, the season’s main ingredient was goatling, with a multi-course dinner menu recommended for 4 persons.
For gourmets, this means an exciting line of dishes, while for the chefs, a creative challenge, since they use all parts of the goatling. Furthermore, some of the dishes are prepared in front of the guests, which is rather commonplace in the restaurant. Just like for Lajos to fall into conversation with the guests, making the atmosphere even more homely, despite the restaurant being three times the size of its Pest-side sibling. Moreover, Kisbíró is a sort of “workshop” as well: its 200 square foot kitchen prepares many dishes for the other restaurant to cook ready.
The Bock Bistros definitely know something, whether they cook in Pest, at Lake Balaton or in Buda. Still, according to Lajos, they have no special tricks. “We just want to be about eating good in a good environment, for an affordable price.”