Chicken is an all-time favorite for those who love meat, but follow a healthy diet; however, the prospect of devouring birds that are treated with antibiotics and are kept in dark, confining cages soon disincline us to munch on chicken bites. Nowadays, buying excellent, quality-controlled chicken is not a luxury, and we rightfully wonder what is on our plate when eating out. However, at Hilda there is nothing to fear – the chickens that are slow-cooked in the rotisserie come from Hungary’s only free-range poultry farm, the Alemitta farm, where they are fed GMO-free wheat, barley, and corn.
We mostly find roasted chicken on the shelves of supermarkets and at food trucks, but Hilda rethought the concept of this simple dish and placed it into a restaurant environment. The owner, Ágnes Szalai, who comes from a family of classic restaurateurs, was inspired by her experience earned in San Francisco, where roasted chicken is the new burger. At Hilda’s open kitchen, free-range birds are roasted for two or three hours in a huge rotisserie. The usage of an open fire gives them different flavors than an electric oven; their meat does not contain as much water, hence it is firmer and perhaps a bit drier than usual, but this way, the true taste of chicken can be brought out with less spices.
Furthermore, there is also roasted duck (similarly to the chicken, a half portion costs 2,500 forints, while the normal portion is 4,900 forints), and pork bacon (2,500 HUF) here. The chicken soup comes in a half-liter bowl, and it contains roasted chicken and duck meat (1,550 HUF). Since the place is only open until 4pm at the moment, they put great emphasis on breakfast meals, but in the future they would like to expand with cocktails and a bar, which would also mean longer opening hours. The excellent egg-based dishes are also made from eggs of free-range chicken. Guests can chose from savory sandwiches, dips, and desserts here, while the healthy drinks represent an alternative brand. All in all, it is not surprising that Hilda has already earned the “Sustainable Restaurant” rating of the Felelős Gasztrohős Foundation.
The elegant and cozy interior – which is the work of Péter Szendrő and the 81 font Architect Studio – is worth special mention. The spacious vaulted restaurant – found on the corner of Nádor Street and Mérleg Street – is decorated with the beautifully glazed, individually added blue tiles of Hungarian artist Gábor Melka, while the place's centerpiece is an atmospheric picture that evokes the work of Gaudí. Furthermore, the blue and orange ambience is further enhanced by the two colorful canaries of Hilda, Frida and Vera, who don’t seem to feel nervous by the rampant consumption of birds all around them. Thanks to the conscientious attitude of Hilda’s management, we have nothing to fear here, either.