Dining

Get charged up with filling gourmet sausages at TöLTő

Photo : Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest
Get charged up with filling gourmet sausages at TöLTő

A sausage a day keeps the doctor away, that’s how the saying goes – according to us, at least. Indeed, luscious links aren’t the lightest option for lunch; filling your belly with meat, bread, and some kind of pickled Hungarian side dish isn’t exactly conducive to enjoying an energetic afternoon afterwards… yet we have a hard time resisting these hearty treats, especially when they’re made with genuine culinary ingenuity. Adding to the temptation, a brand-new gourmet sausage shop popped up on Wesselényi Street just a few days ago, where tasty links are loaded with quality ingredients.

The city-center section of Wesselényi Street is crowded with street-food spots, but until recently, anyone who was seeking a hearty sausage there would find only an empty stomach. There was a good butcher shop not far away at Klauzál Square, but that closed some time ago – hopefully, we will see it again in the renewed market hall. And although we can bump into a hamburger joint on every corner, we were craving another kind of meat-based dish in this neighborhood. So, imagine our happiness when TöLTő – which can mean both charger and sausage stuffer in Hungarian – turned out to be a sausage shop instead of a geek bar or a boring computer store.
Photo: Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest
The place is rather small, but nicely decorated: there is a long lamp hanging from the ceiling that looks like some weird meaty dish, and there aren’t any unnecessary items; just some Thai basil plants (in the “cooking cabin”) stand out. The counter is ideal if you want to sit while eating, and their logo depicts the sausage stuffer that is proudly displayed on the first floor of the place.
Months of planning, tasting, and thinking came before this place finally opened – as the owners said, they’ve tried out everything that came into their mind. Their chef, Benedek Juba, left the famous Olimpia restaurant for TöLTő. As we watched him preparing our meals, we couldn’t help noticing how precise he is, how much he respects all the ingredients, and how carefully he puts things together. It might sound strange, but he treated basil sprouts like they were expensive diamonds. Soon, it turned out that this caring attitude pays off.
Benedek comes from the world of fine dining, so TöLTő is remarkable not only because the taste and the service is outstanding, but because of the way they treat their guests. They don’t try to be funny to compensate for substandard food, and they don’t try to be your friend; but while you wait, you’ll possibly get a slice of their freshly baked baguette, quality butter, and some special topping as an “amuse-bouche”.
Photo: Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest
Currently there are four options for sausage lovers on the menu: pork with chili-pepper seasoning; chicken with ginger, lime, and chili; beef with stewed tomato, and another pork variety made with red wine, soy sauce, and mustard seed. After a quick read-through, you can easily recognize what to expect from this gourmet sausage haven: a mix of well-known and brand-new flavors, playfulness, the cuisine of different nations packed into one dish. Although we are speaking of a new-wave place, customers don’t have to be afraid that the sausage will lack meat or be dry; months of experimentation guarantee that they know what they’re doing.
Photo: Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest
Our choice was the chili-pepper version (1,200 HUF), which came in an onion roll with a piquant sauce with grilled peppers and kumquat – yes, the Mediterranean citrus fruit. The mini-meal comes in a cute little paper tray, but since there is such a generous portion of toppings, we found it impossible to eat it without getting some fresh stains on our clothes… but we didn’t mind.
Photo: Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest
We were also interested about the Asian-influenced chicken sausage (1,100 HUF), but after the first bite we realized that we weren’t prepared for such a complex taste. The bun was baked with sheets of dried seaweed, and it is stuffed with ginger-flavored meat, ponzu sauce, coconut balls made with cashew and olive paste, daikon radish, and and some sprouts. It’s surprising and complex, but maybe that’s the reason why we really like TöLTő – this description also applies to the concept and their attitude towards the dishes.