Bartók – a new dining destination for morning, noon and night
A breakfast spot, a bistro and bar, Bartók is all things to all men. Also included in its name, the three magic words, Reggel.Délben.Este, ‘Morning, Noon and Night’, correspond to this new concept here on trendifying Bartók Béla Boulevard, just over the river in Buda.
One of the owners of the renowned Két Szerecsen bistro on Nagymező utca, Gábor Kereszty was clear where he wanted to locate his new venture, hence Bartók, sparkling and cosmopolitan. What he wasn’t sure about was its remit. Café? Restaurant? Bar? ‘Let’s meet at Bartók’ makes life easy, but ‘Morning, Noon and Night’ doesn’t really prepare you for what to expect.
The management would like Bartók to be used by everyone as they wish: a beer after work, something to start the day or a lingering lunch. Some may bring a crowd and spend the evening over a meal, sharing tapas across the table (of which more later), others might plot up at the bar and dive right into the wine list. The idea is for all bases to be covered, depending on the time of day.
There are various breakfast, lunch and evening specials. The basics – such as smoked salmon or homemade duck-liver pâté – can be utilised and combined, again according to the time of day. So, for example, while the morning might bring salmon Eggs Benedict (1,790 HUF), at lunchtime you’ll find the Gravlax Bowl (2,490 HUF), which includes six-minute eggs, avocado and fresh lettuce.
Eggs also feature prominently at the start of the day, fried or scrambled with mixed mushrooms, spinach and cheddar (1,190 HUF), perhaps with chorizo, onion and tomatoes (1,290 forints), along with breads and pastries, while at lunchtime the emphasis is on different bowls and salads. There’s always a daily soup (690 HUF) and a main course (990 HUF), superseded by bar food and tapas in the evening. These include garlic and chili-sizzled crab (2,190 HUF), marinated fried pepper with feta (1,290 HUF) and, little seen around Budapest these days, sztrapacska (1,990 HUF), dumplings with curd cheese and bacon bits, which can come with mashed potatoes or Bavarian cabbage.
When we popped in, they emphasised that the size of the kitchen hasn’t affected the decision not to go for the finer end of the dining spectrum but they prefer to provide reliably delicious dishes for everyone. On the basis of what we sampled, we can also confirm that everything was fresh, tasty and there were no missing culinary delicacies. Nor did we feel like this was the same old routine.
For drinks, they also find a nice middle ground: there are small-batch beers, for example, from Hübris and RothBeer, and wine from Laposa, Légli and Kreinbacher. Coffee includes classic, Italian and new-wave, light-roast varieties.
While they’re still new to the neighbourhood, they told me that they would like Bartók to become part of the furniture, just like Két Szerecsen in Pest. Meanwhile, they’re being kept busy opening a terrace and thinking up new dishes and details. Giving the rest of us all the more reason to hop over to Buda.
Bartók – reggel.délben.este
District XI. Bartók Béla út 9
Open: Mon-Sat 7.30am-10pm, Sun 9am-10pm