Eber Desszert echoes the hiking days of yesteryear
Those looking for a tasty pastry in the leafy heights of District XII are not exactly spoiled for choice. But a lovely old house in Zugliget has recently been restored to its former glory and transformed into a retreat for fine confectionery: Eber Desszert.
More than 150 years ago, this building served hikers who had made their way up to Zugliget from town. Its former name of Disznózug, referring to the boars that once snuffled around here, hardly conjures up the surrounding atmosphere of flora and fauna in harmony with summer homes, hunting lodges and the landmark restaurants of Buda.
Since the omnibuses and communal coaches of the day were too small, they set up a horse-drawn train from Chain Bridge here, making it easier and more convenient to head up from the city centre. In 1896, it was replaced by a tram but after an unfortunate accident, the terminal was moved to smoother ground. József Kauser’s building later became a place of residence, surviving two world wars, but its condition deteriorated rapidly.
The building was saved from complete collapse at the last minute. The reconstruction was completed by 2017, and since then it has been operating as an events centre and a modest local history museum. After initial plans for a salon and confectionery, the latter became reality in 2019 with the opening of Eber Desszert.
First, the name: eber. German for boar. On the next hillside, wild boars still descend with gusto and their noises ring around the surrounding forest. In fact, this being Buda, they’ve given one a top hat and a pince-nez, the Eber symbol and a small story you’ll find on the back of the menu. Local residents have long needed a place of this kind and hikers can now take full advantage of quality offerings surrounded by woodland.
Walking up to the door is an experience in itself, accessed by a short double staircase. Woods, oaks, chestnuts, acorns, owls and mushrooms appear on the wallpaper as you enter. Opposite the counter, homely seating beckons in the side area, reception and the bookshelf-lined gallery. As does, of course, the view, of the Buda woods instead of city bustle. The window looks integral to this green backdrop, which may actually be slightly discombobulating. You can certainly relax, though, on the terrace if weather permits.
It’s no secret that the house is tied in with the MomKult culture centre, and thus tied in with the revered Larus restaurant further down in Buda. The kitchen where home-grown produce will be prepared in the basement is not yet ready, but it’s on its way and all the work will then be concentrated here.
Eber does not want to be a restaurant nor a trendy allergy-free cake shop – they just want to create a reliable place where you can start your walk in the woods with a few potato scones to take with you. Similarly, hikers can come in from a hard morning’s yomp and replace those calories. It also provides a resource for the area, so that locals don’t have to go all the way to Buda transport hub Széll Kálmán tér if they need a pastry or have been too busy to sort out a birthday cake.
They offer French-style desserts, so Hungarian classics such as Eszterházy cake fit in perfectly and can even be slightly reinvented. Desserts range from 590 to 790 forints, sundaes are 850, savoury pastries 400 forints per 10dg. Scones, either cheese or potato, hit the mark, as well as the hiking companions of cheese sticks, ideal crunchy snacks for any picnic in the woods. You can even ask for butter with them. They also make whole loaves.
It’s tricky to pick out one dessert in particular, because each of the ones we sampled were so delicious. If we were to highlight the best, the raspberry and pistachio mousse, cottage-cheese dessert and salty caramel dessert would be the favourites and, among the sundaes, the already familiar and completely addictive passion cream from Larus. But you can also enjoy a tiramisu or coconut-milk tapioca pudding – which you can also take away in a small cup. They make healthy chewy sweets for kids, as well as tattoos of Eber the Boar, spread out on the counter.
You can order a premium tea from Zhao Zhou, a Hungarian rice-based smoothie – or you can just sit back with your espresso, accompanied by the wild boars on the wallpaper.
District XII. Zugligeti út 64
Open: daily 10am-8pm