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Kollázs takes classic coffeehouse style into the 21st century

Writers

22/06/2015 2.00am

As one of the world’s most spectacular Art Nouveau buildings, Budapest’s Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace is already a historic hotspot for deluxe hospitality and dining – and with the recent opening of the Kollázs Brasserie & Bar in one of its corner halls, this grand urban palace offers yet another stunning attraction. In addition to hotel guests, Kollázs welcomes locals and all city visitors to stop in for a full meal or just a nice dessert; moreover, Kollázs is also ideal for relaxing over cocktails or wines.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

In recent months, the management of Budapest’s Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace is making a concerted effort to welcome more locals, visitors, and expats into this sparkling Art Nouveau landmark building, and we greatly appreciate these endeavors; the hotel’s first-ever Advent Fair in their expansive lobby was a highlight of the city’s last Christmas season. When we heard the news that the hotel would be opening a new restaurant this summer that would also provide a warm reception, this definitely inspired us to check it out – and upon our first visit to Kollázs, we were happy to discover a friendly place with timeless style.

The name of the restaurant, Kollázs (“Collage” in Hungarian), is not a random choice – it refers to the dynamic art technique where artists use various materials and therefore can create more freely. This complexity characterizes the new eatery of the Four Seasons as well, since in addition to functioning as a classic restaurant, they also have a bakery, a cocktail bar, a panoramic terrace, and a grill kitchen in store. There is no lack of modern kitchen technologies, either (rotisserie, Josper oven, etc.), and we can follow the preparation process of our food with the show kitchen. The menu includes both traditional dishes (marrow bone, beef bouillon, paprika catfish, Wiener schnitzel) and exciting, new-wave foods. Obviously, the chefs smuggled some novelty into the traditional offers as well, which is how we can find marinated shallots and anchovies on our tartare, or how morels and beef tongue can make it into the bouillon. Thus, the character of this culinary collage fills out the picture nicely.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

The same is true for the design of Kollázs, which impressed us the most. The interior is grandiose yet subtly elegant, the creation of the architects of EDG Design from San Fransisco, reflecting on the ’20s and ’30s luxury of Budapest. The atmospheric splendor that we experienced in Kollázs is truly exemplary, and fits perfectly with the more than 100-year-old Gresham Palace building; enhancing the scene, from the premises we can admire views of the Chain Bridge and the Basilica.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

The head chef of Kollázs is Árpád Győrffy, a veteran of outstanding Budapest fine-dining destinations like Arany Kaviár and Alabárdos. Here we prefer his cooler, more modern dishes, like the aforementioned sirloin tartare (3,800 HUF), which was complemented nicely by the marine flavor, along with cream of asparagus soup with cilantro oil (2,000 HUF), or the raspberry soup with sorrel sorbet and elderberry jam (1,800 HUF), which is a revolutionary dessert soup.

Kollázs is also proud of its grill kitchen, and we were impressed by its offers including the house burger and the rotisserie-roasted duck. In addition to these dishes, we can also create our own main dish with a choice of meat served with our preferred side dish and sauce.

However, we must point out that Kollázs is a place where quality is not cheap; nonetheless, were we to order similar dishes in similar settings in cities just a few hundred kilometers to the West, we would certainly be paying a lot more for the same (or inferior) quality. We are sure that the masses of Budapest will not be coming here for lunch every day, but the restaurant is definitely worth checking out, at least for a cup of coffee or a little something from the confectionery.

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