The first quarter of 2018 has seen several changes in Budapest’s culinary scene. Well-known chef Tamás Botos has left Tanti and will continue at Klassz, bringing his crowd-pleasing dishes with him. His signature style is easily recognisable – he offers exciting takes on Hungarian dishes with an Asian twist, and this concept goes well with the bold wine selection provided by Bortársaság. Revived Klassz is still trying to find its own voice, but according to Tamás and his team, a real gastronomic destination is taking shape at this prominent location of 41 Andrássy út.
Some of you may have heard the news that Michelin-star restaurant, Tanti, has closed, and chef Tamás Botos and his team are starting over at Klassz. This change has not affected his choice of dishes at all: Asian-Hungarian fusion still dominates, with popular, uncomplicated creations and seasonal offerings.
Tamás makes regional ingredients a priority and likes to reinvent Hungarian classics: his egg soup (tojásleves) has buttery breadcrumbs, paprika oil and sous-vide eggs, and his pork and sauerkraut stew (székelykáposzta) is made with tenderloin and pearl barley.
“I love these dishes,” says Tamás. “We can present them to our foreign guests as Hungarian classics, and locals can enjoy their favourites with a fresh twist.” The current menu still has several dishes that used to be favourites at Tanti, but they’re planning to widen the food selection and experiment with brand new, exciting creations. Dessert choices will change every two or three weeks, and the rest of the menu will vary every few months. Lighter meals with plenty of vegetables will be offered in the coming season, attracting custom during the summer heat.
As popular wine chain, Bortársaság, runs the restaurant, you might think that certain drinks might pair with each dish. This is not the case here, though – while Tamás makes popular dishes easily complemented with wine, he’s not influenced by these options when working on his new creations. Nonetheless, Klassz would like to underline the local terroir and produce unique, unconventional combinations.
A wide choice of wines is offered, 70% of it organic and 30% comprised of popular classics. Full-bodied Villányis or flowery Sauvignon Blancs do not dominate here, though – rather it’s the lighter examples that steal the show.
Chef Tamás and team view the restaurant as their playground – if a wine grips their imagination, they open a bottle, start tasting and see where it takes them. You may have guessed that they’re not emphasising the most popular types here: if they find something to be enthusiastic about they’ll include it in the wine list, which changes twice a week.
Should a diner need advice, the menu has coloured dots besides each course, referring to the recommended wines that go well with it. A purple dot means that the perfect choice for that dish – lamb, for example – is a highly acidic, light red. During our dinner there, the spicy and aromatic yellow muscat by popular winemaker ImreGyörgykovács was perfect for the home-smoked salmon with ginger-curry carrot cream, while Orsolya winery’s red cuvée, Hetedhét, complemented the meaty dishes superbly.
The place is still feeling its way, and although it’s heading in the right direction, some of their dishes did not quite hit the mark: pasta with cheese and sour cream, truffles and parmesan chips could have been more complex and memorable. However, to get a real taste of Klassz, start by trying its lunch menu – then pair it up with some great wine and you won’t be disappointed.