A newly open downtown hangout is a sleekly rustic eatery founded by some of the city’s veteran foodies, focusing on outstanding wines and tasty tapas. Apropó is a place with a welcoming atmosphere; it offers something for wine specialists and laymen alike, its kitchen is nothing but great, and its management is open to all kinds of programs. We were the first to test Apropó – but it wasn't the last time that we’ve been there.
We often write about new restaurants that were founded as a result of the owners having two or three long nights of conversation mixed with some world-changing thoughts, and then opening a new place despite never having worked in the food-service trade before. Not that this is a problem, especially if the place turns out to be good and welcoming. But still, it's a whole different thing to meet people from the hospitality scene who understand, feel, and love everything about gastronomy from years of focusing on it. Zsolt Bajkai and Miklós Forrai are just like that: they've been a part of the Budapest dining scene for decades, they worked at the once-renowned Articsóka restaurant (now MOST Bistro), and they also have a wine store. These experiences and their connections in the wine scene provided the idea that they shouldn't just sell bottles, but open a place where people can taste their good libations along with a nice dinner – and so they launched Apropó in late November.The corner location of Apropó once housed a nightclub, making this an apropos place for a new wine bar. The logó and the interior design is the work of Gáspár Bonta, and the arches of the logo's letters were inspired by the brick arches of the building. In terms of the interior, they didn't want to follow the current industrial trends: the chairs and the walls, covered with wooden vegetable racks, make it feel like home, and that already differentiates them from the usual high-end wine bars that are fancy to the point of being uncomfortable. This place is laid-back enough to be dog-friendly, so if you happen to arrive with your four-legged friend, that's not a problem. During our visit, Aide, Apropó's house dog, was resting under one of the tables.
The wine list was put together with the aim of showcasing smaller cellars that make high-quality wines, so their selection isn't like what you can find everywhere else, but a unique Hungarian selection including Bukolyi and Nimród Kovács from Eger, Benedek from the Mátra, Babarczi from Pannonhalma, Merfelsz and Janó Németh from Szekszárd, Zsirai from the Tokaj region, and Ruppert from Villány; there are also some Italian wines on the list. The prices are reasonable, especially since we can order 0.5 and 1.5 deciliters of the chosen drink. This is especially good news, because this way, we can try a lot of different wines without falling into delirium. Of course you can buy an entire bottle as well; in the opening season, they cost 30% less than their original price.The dishes are just as promising as the wine list: Apropó offers treats in a tapas system. Eggplant cream (890 HUF), duck rilettes (1,090 HUF), the super-delicate aspic (1,390 HUF), confit leg of duck with beetroot puree (1,290 HUF), and the shrimp boiled in butter with zucchini (1,690 HUF) – they all go well with the wine.We can't wait to see what kind of programs and wine nights will take place at Apropó, as our first impressions were really convincing.