In downtown Pest, Veres Pálné Street’s Halkakas is one of the city’s best spots for street-food seafood – and so it’s somewhat surprising that their new location opened for the spring season at an unusual spot, but with a superb concept. Instead of setting up their hypermodern food container at a well-frequented downtown spot or at a panoramic waterfront site, they ended up high in the Buda Hills, more specifically at the final stop of the Children’s Railway at Széchenyi Hill. There are hardly any greener areas in Budapest; the atmosphere is breezy and retro, but the flavors are very modern.
Enjoy outdoor fish feasts atop the Buda Hills at Halkakas Terrace
Terrace, rooftop bar, small garden – these are the places that we simply can’t become bored of, since they are the ones that push us into spring and help us unwind in the summer, even if we have to stay downtown. We don’t usually write about the imminent street-food revolution amid the forests of District XII, but Zsuzsi Lévai of Halkakas definitely came up with a great idea for her portable kitchen after using it feed festivalgoers last summer: they decided to conquer Széchenyi Hill with easy-to-prepare fish dishes, thus giving people one more reason to hike up there, or to ride the Cogwheel Railway to the top and discover this places after a short stroll.
Halkakas Terrace occupies a small area by the final station of the Children’s Railway, where they set up the stunningly modern, convertible kitchen container and some tables, and offer great fish dishes that are perfect not only in a restaurant environment, but also after a long Friday with friends and a few glasses of rosé fröccs. The high quality of the dishes at Halkakas is guaranteed by Zsuzsi’s father, who is an expert in fish – nothing is mud-flavored or of dubious origin here, just like at their downtown restaurant. Everyone can safely visit them for a platter of fish and chips, even if they aren’t all that enthusiastic about river fish, since the flavors are not too strong.
In the first round, we ate a catfish gyros (1,850 HUF), made from lightly charred catfish with Greek seasoning and served with tzatziki. It’s just as crunchy and “fishy” as it should be. However, our favorite was the Hungarian version of the British street-food classic, the house fish and chips (1,850 HUF), the batter of which has some double-millet beer in it. The dish is served with remoulade, and it’s very difficult to stop pigging out on it – even if you weren’t the one who ordered. We also tasted the only fish-free dish of Halkakas, the buffalo burger (1,550 HUF), which might be the best choice for those who are attracted not by the fish, but the atmosphere of the place. We can also order some fine wines to accompany the food, but what we recommend the most is watching the sunset here atop Széchenyi Hill, even if we only snack on some carp crunchers (900 HUF). While we’re not huge fans of this fish, these still serve as excellent drinking snacks!Given the location, Zsuzsi’s plans include throwing parties on the terrace, as well. In the spring season (April-May), the place is open only from Friday to Sunday, but in the summer, we’ll be able to visit Halkakas Terrace all week long.