Hungarian fine dining at its best: Stand opens in Budapest
Hungary’s most famous chef duo, Tamás Széll of Bocuse d’Or fame and his highly talented spouse, Szabina Szulló, have launched their new restaurant, Stand, on Székely Mihály utca. The couple has been successfully operating their Stand25 Bistro at the downtown market for a whole year now, where the goulash soup and the Somlói sponge cake are legendary. Now it seems they switched up a gear, placing their holy trinity of cutting-edge kitchen technologies, elegance and Hungarian flavours in a fine dining environment.
Stand25 Bistro at the Downtown Market is ever popular, but considering Széll and Szulló’s legacy at Budapest’s prestigious Onyx restaurant, it was only a matter of time before they returned to fine dining. Stepping inside the new restaurant, it is surprising how many people work here, both around the tables and in the kitchen separated by a glass wall. Watching them for a while, you soon realise that they are all in professional symbiosis.
If you book a table for lunchtime, which here is between noon and 3pm, the latest time you can arrive is at 1:30pm. If you are just after a quick lunch, this is not the place, because here you get a whole experience with amuse-bouches, little surprise bites and a professional service that can stretch to two or three hours. Dinner is between 6:30pm and midnight, the latest time to arrive being 9pm.
If you are the curious type, you can peek into the kitchen behind the glass wall and keep an eye on your dish. You can also spot Szabina and Tamás working with much professionalism and precision, just like at a competition. They are a great team, watching them is quite satisfying and inspiring.
Three- and four-course lunch specials feature (7,500 and 9,500 forints), but bear in mind that some main dishes may cost extra. For dinner, an eight-course chef’s special is available for 29,500 forints, but this can only be ordered for the whole table, while a four-course standard menu costs 19,500 forints. There is no classic à la carte menu – put yourself in the hands of professionals, the dishes are all in perfect harmony.
The homemade breads with butter and dips are really tasty. You will be served several amuse-bouches, the best of which may be the citrus cauliflower and a garlic-cheese-sour cream lángos. After these intensive flavours, some corn soup will come in handy to prepare your stomach for the starters.
Tomato and paprika salad, smoked eel cubes with onion foam, horseradish and potatoes – all are delicious. When it comes to starters, the liver is a must, which in this case is duck liver with elderflower, cherry and brioche. This dish brings the countryside to mind.
You can follow this with fish soup with smoked carp and roe, nice and succulent. The sterlet with cucumber salad and mussel sauce was one of Tamás Széll’s competing dishes at the Bocuse d’Or. Here it is harmonic and unforgettable. Of course, you won’t be able to resist their legendary goulash soup, though you may find it a little too salty.
For the main, a young lamb roast comes with a steak knife especially made for the restaurant – very elegant. The meat is served with stuffed cabbage and ramsons. There is also trout with summer salad and grilled vegetable soup, and something for vegetarians, a celery, mushroom and apple trio.
When it comes to dessert, you have to go for the Somlói sponge cake you may already have sampled at Stand25. It is still addictive, just like the peach, honey and homemade yogurt bite and the cherry, walnut and chocolate dessert. After these, treat yourself to Hungarian Rákóczi túrós cottage cheese sweet and apple pie.
Budapest has long needed a place like this, where harmonious Hungarian flavours are created from local ingredients in a fine-dining environment.
- 1061 Budapest, Székely Mihály utca 2.