Dining

A former meat deli by Parliament serves complete Magyar meals

Photo : Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest
PICK Deli & Gourmet

From this summer, a genuine Hungarian locale is welcoming carnivorous sightseers at stately Kossuth tér. Located right by the M2 metro station currently covered with scaffolding, a meat deli-cum-eatery now serves hot goulash soup, melt-in-the-mouth pork stew, even whole salamis of the venerable PICK brand. Given the location, surrounded by upscale outlets, dishes are offered at fair prices and served over a lengthy canteen-style counter. PICK Deli & Gourmet opens early morning to serve breakfast though the day, and lunch is available from 11am.

Towered over by the Gothic splendour of Parliament, focal Kossuth tér is always packed with visitors posing for snaps amid an extensive mist fountain that envelops it. Meanwhile, scenic tram 2 zooms around the square, adding a vintage vibe to this stately setting. For pairing these prime sights with fine food, there are just a few outlets set up around the locality – and until now, there was no eatery offering real Hungarian fare for those who just want to have a quick bite and go.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

Now, with the recent addition of PICK Deli & Gourmet, passers-by can sample Hungarian staples as they sit by the large panoramic windows or lounge on the terrace. As you step inside, you will be immediately hit by the aroma of roast pork and notice the signs for cuts of meat mounted on the bare-brick wall, evoking the deli that once stood here. The PICK brand itself dates back to 1869 when the brand was established in the southern city of Szeged. It later took part in the great Hungarian millennial celebrations in Budapest in 1896. Now as the largest dried-meat manufacturers in the region, and still Hungarian-owned, PICK exports to 35 countries around the world.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

This former outlet for provisions now features a shiny industrial design and a mezzanine, embellished with folksy elements. Garlands of dried peppers hang from sturdy metal railings and the floor tiles could easily decorate any vintage kitchen in provincial Hungary. Behind a glass counter, savoury potato gratin is displayed alongside other meaty treats in small red pots, and is served in the same colourful dishes.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

But you can also find pork knuckle, crispy on the outside and succulent within, the pork loin slightly smoky and tender. For sides, guests can order soft roast potatoes, a mix of pickled vegetables, even fresh green salad, also suitable for vegetarians. Those on a meat-free diet can go for green pea pottage or grilled vegetables.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

On weekdays, you can come here as early as 7am to have breakfast, light or substantial. There are fresh vegetables, fruit, even unsweetened yoghurt with granola served in takeaway plastic cups. Sandwiches are filled baguettes or croissants, containing finely cut mangalica meat or the brand’s famous téliszalámi (winter salami), encrusted in noble mold. Whole salamis are also available, and make great souvenirs for taking home.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

If you crave a cooked morning feast, order a pair of fried sausages that comes to you on a paper tray accompanied by fig-infused bread and a dab of sweet mustard. Look out for breakfast deals, one such including a cappuccino and a select bakery product such as an eminently Hungarian cocoa roll, all for 790 forints. Then there are freshly pressed juices made from apple, carrot and beetroot.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

Guests eating at PICK can also sample a traditional local dessert that is hardly available elsewhere. The vargabéles cottage-cheese pie is what Hungarian grandmothers often prepare to crown Sunday lunch with the family. Here, this layered treat is served with raisins and a drop of lemon for that zesty flavour. Customers on a lactose-free diet can order strawberry mousse made with coconut milk.

Photo: Zsuzsi Forgács/We Love Budapest

While the current structures set up for the adjacent construction works slightly interrupt the classy city-centre panorama, you can still observe life around the square, especially from the restaurant’s unpretentious summer terrace.

PICK Deli & Gourmet
  • District V, Kossuth tér 9
  • Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm