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Budapest’s new Bistro Fine serves top wines and tapas on Andrássy

Over the decades, the 19th-century palace at 8 Andrássy Avenue housed a cinema, a bank, and many bars, but in March 2016 the Continental Group’s Hotel Moments Budapest opened for business here, enhanced with a bistro that entices both hotel guests and anyone craving a nice lunch, delicious dinner, or tasty wines amid an elegant environment in downtown Budapest. We visited and tried the business-lunch menu, and some à la carte courses, too – as the name of the place foretold, we had a fine time.

It is always a great challenge for a hotel to operate a bar and restaurant that pleases both guests and the general public with drinks and cuisine prepared with high-quality proficiency and served amid a genuinely appealing atmosphere. Bistro Fine opened during springtime on Andrássy Avenue, and stood in the spotlight at the time when the Bocuse d’Or chef competitions were happening in Budapest, because at that time gastronomy journalists from all over the world stayed at Hotel Moments, and were expected to pop in to Bistro Fine.The bistro – alongside the hotel – is stylish in every detail; it follows the freshest trends that separate smaller spaces, but the great guest area is one big spot. A spacious and shadowy terrace was attached to both sides of the corner eatery, while an interactive wine bar entices at the front with a classic seating area. Passing under the archway of vintage suitcases, a breakfast spot is found by the decorative “drawers”.

The bar fills an important role in the spacious and breezy unit, offering a perfect place for the aforementioned interactive wine sessions, devouring delicious cocktailconcoctions, or savoring tapas. Two Enomatic wine dispensers are found in the restaurant; therefore, due to the high technology, guests can sample 16 types of wine specialties in quantities of 2 cl. The machine keeps each bottle airtight for optimal freshness, even for months, providing a great solution for guests to taste more expensive high-quality wines without having to buy the whole bottle.Zoltán Feke, the owner and chef of Petrus Restaurant, is the new executive chef of Bistro Fine. He composes the fixed à la carte menu according to the seasons, and varies it after a few months. We decided to try both the lunch menu, (two courses cost 2,690 HUF, three courses cost an extra 500 HUF) and the two fixed dishes. The three-course menu is filling, thanks to the generous portions. The Jerusalem artichoke creme soup was supplemented with camembert croutons, and it proved to be a truly silky soup. As a main course we had sous-vide pork chops with a salad enhanced with a touch of Thai flavors. The dessert was the restaurant’s homemade melt-in-the-mouth and homey túrógombóc (curd-cheese dumplings) served with strawberries and vanilla.From the à la carte menu we tried the duck-liver páté with pear jelly, raisin cream, and fresh brioche (3,300 HUF). This liver-fruit-brioche trio is an absolute winner if it’s made with fantasy – and so it was. From the main-course menu we ordered the salmon with green risotto (3,990 HUF); the roasted salmon came with risotto, green peas, and a filmy layer of fennel. The dessert was the place’s favorite, the Hungarian mákos guba (a poppy-seed-based dessert) with pumpkin seed oil served in a fruit jar (890 HUF). At first glance this pairing might seem bizarre, but these two work together very well. An extra 10% is charged for each visit as a service fee.All in all we can conclude that the ever-changing collection of restaurants on Andrássy Avenue is now richer with this eatery providing a pleasant and laid-back atmosphere, enhanced with a carefully planned-out kitchen.
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