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Szamos Today modernizes Budapest’s classic coffeehouse culture

There haven’t been many reliable restaurants and cafés by the Parliament building with a good view, selection, and service. The traditional cakes, marzipans, and smaller confectioneries of Szamos are well known and loved throughout the country, and the family has been operating the brand since 1935 – the profession passes from generation to generation. They opened their newest store at Kossuth Square to continue the tradition, while also offering new products and services tailored to the needs of modern-day customers. We had breakfast at the new Szamos coffeehouse and took a look around.

The confectionery/restaurant dynasty and the associated brand of Szamos, beloved by Hungarians for ages, can always be relied on for good quality and smooth service. The same is true for the latest location of Szamos, which opened literally just a few meters away from the metro station of Kossuth Square, overlooking the freshly restored Parliament building. The unit is a unique hybrid of a café, a breakfast place, a bistro, a gift shop, a confectionery, and a museum. The coordination of such diverse genres and activities is rather difficult, but at Szamos, we experienced attentive, knowledgeable professionalism in all fields.

The store bears some classic characteristics in its colors and shapes, yet the shop area is modern and airy. The view is gorgeous: the Parliament can be clearly seen even from the downstairs self-service section, and soon the store will expand with a large terrace. The à la carte section is more intimate, perfect as a venue for a business breakfast/lunch/snack. The whole space is strongly defined by the ink-drawing mural, the long counter stuffed with cakes and sandwiches, and the “open” workshop, where we can watch the cake-making processes while sipping our coffee.

One of the major novelties of the place is that in addition to pastries and coffees, they also offer salty and healthy breakfasts and snacks, either for eating on the spot or takeaway. These include, for example, the products of the brand
Szamos Today: exciting sandwiches (with jalapeño cream, goat cheese, or salmon and pesto), salads and fruit cups, breakfasts with yogurt and muesli, milkshakes, and smoothies. A complete breakfast with a sandwich and coffee costs around 1,200-1,500 forints, which is not cheap, but for this location it is worth the cost. In addition to the traditional Vienna-roast coffee, they also offer a specialty line.The aforementioned upstairs section welcomes guests with table service and brunch. We tasted the Szamos-style eggs Benedict (1,490 HUF), and thoroughly enjoyed the poached egg served on a bed of crackling scones with spinach and crispy bacon, doused in hollandaise sauce – it was well prepared with lots of flavor and a nice texture. It’s a delicate dish, but it passed our test, just like the basic ham and eggs (920 HUF), which was just runny enough. The menu also lists sweet breakfasts and complete “menus”, and soon their business lunch will be available, as well. (On the upstairs floor, a 15% service charge is added to the total price.)On the top floor of the building, we can find a Szamos gift shop with chocolates, bonbons, and marzipans; in addition, this floor also has an events hall and chocolate museum, which summarizes the long history of cacao and chocolate. Most of the exhibited items are from the family’s private collection. It’s interesting to see the hollow molds of chocolate Santas up close, or how chocolate shops used to look decades ago. The workshop is placed at the end of the exhibition, completing this District V Szamos house.We look forward to the terrace and business lunch of Szamos, since even though they stick to traditions, the new-wave developments also fit them nicely.

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