We found a place at Astoria where we can enjoy breakfast from 7am all the way to 7pm. If you crave an omelet or French toast in the late afternoon, you can definitely get it here! Zoska founders Zsófi and Blanka made their long-cherished dream a reality after lengthy planning and preparations, and the café opened at the beginning of August as one of the newest and most charming breakfast places in Budapest.
The Zoska menu features classic morning dishes like crispy sausage with mustard, scrambled or fried eggs with optional toppings, or a light muesli with yogurt and fresh seasonal fruits. The American pancake with maple syrup or Nutella is tempting as well, just like the apple-cinnamon oatmeal. We can buy our breakfast as a combo; this way, we get an additional pastry, coffee, or soft drink for a total of 1,190 forints.
They order the buns for their sandwiches from Marmonstein Bakery, and the girls thought up divine combos in order to compete with the already growing downtown sandwich scene. Zsófi lived in the Catalan area of Spain for a while, which is apparent in the sandwich selection – most of them are made with a Catalan-style tomato base made by blending fresh, juicy tomatoes with olive oil and a bit of salt.
Sandwich options include ham-and-cheese, tuna, or four-cheese versions; we tried the blueberry Brie cheese sandwich, and could not complain.
While we were talking with Zsófi, a shipment of syrup arrived from the Papp jam manufactory in Vácrátót – the girls work exclusively with this local business for their fresh homemade syrups and jams. We tasted the raspberry syrup, and really felt as if we had just jumped into a pool of fresh raspberries. Customers can buy these syrups and jams in the store separately to take home. Soon the pastries arrived as well: the various pies are made by a confectioner, at least until they receive permission to bake their own on the spot. The day’s arrivals were baked blueberry cheesecakes and apple tarts, but the selection changes daily.
The girls dreamed up the interior design themselves; they did not seek any professional assistance. They found an antique-store specialist who helped them select the right furniture – most of the tables are put together from coat racks and piano legs attached to tabletops. The counter is made from the head of an old bed as well. Our favorite design aspects are the message board on the gallery where anyone can “post” as they please, and the small picnic corner next to the entrance where we can sip our coffee while sitting on artificial grass. “We hunted for cups and plates on the Internet, and found beautiful antique porcelain pieces, mainly decorated with white-gold edges and small flowers,” says Zsófi of their backstage secrets.
Since both of them worked at cafés previously, it was very important for them to choose a coffee of the right quality and flavor. After a long search, they decided that the dark-roasted Italian Vergnano stands closest to the taste of the Hungarian public. They offer milk in lactose-free, soy, and almond varieties for their breakfast beverages. The store is open all day, so the menu has wine, beer, and cider on it as well, but naturally, the focus is not on alcohol. “Our customers are mainly locals, and nearly all of them are regulars, as well. I love watching the street life, the characters from inside – it is just like in the movies,” says Zsófi.