In the six years since KIOSK opened in downtown Pest, it has become one of the busiest restaurants in the city. From this autumn, those in Buda can now enjoy its flavours, as it replaces the Beefbar at the Hotel Clark, overlooking the Chain Bridge.
Everything restaurateur Hubert Hlatky-Schlichter touches, it seems, turns to culinary gold. Now, after overseeing KIOSK Pest and gaining his first Michelin star with Babel, he has been mulling over the prospect of KIOSK Buda.
Although the change of image took just three weeks, the place carries the usual KIOSK atmosphere, a blend of old civic elegance and modern eatery, which is why the Pest unit is so loved. And although the interior of the previous Beefbar remains – minor changes are planned later – this is not a problem at all: even the mosaic pattern on the wall is very similar to the KIOSK’s.
The menu is reminiscent of the tried and trusted one at KIOSK, significant dishes such as the burger trio, traditional veal Wiener Schnitzel or chicken à la Gödöllő all feature here, with some only available on this side of the river. In addition, you can choose from a daily changing menu offer at KIOSK Buda.
It should also be noted that while Beefbar is looking for the right relocation, there’s still a strong supply of top-quality steaks, Angus beef, filet mignon and so on, being delivered.
While the executive chef at KIOSK Pest, Gábor Orosz, oversees the Buda outlet, Gábor Simala, previously of Prime, Náncsi néni and Beefbar, runs the kitchen here day to day. His dishes represent a more traditional Hungarian style, naturally in a modern guise. Accordingly, the permanent menu includes beef stew and Brassói roast.
It is always a good sign to have a selection of pottages on the menu of a sophisticated restaurant, so we were delighted to taste Gábor's take on the humble potato version (2,850 HUF). The velvety texture of the vinegar, laurel, slightly tarragonish pottage and potato pieces made it clear from the off that we were dealing with a compact, new-wave variety that will even improve with the addition of mangalica meatballs (together, 3,850 HUF).
Fortunately we didn't miss the stuffed cabbage from the weekly offer (3,950 HUF) – and a good job, too. We really hope that this dish, with just the right amount of pickled cabbage, mangalica filling, cabbage chips and crispy bacon bacon bits, will be included on the permanent menu sooner or later, for the winter at least, as it could become a mainstay like the Wiener Schnitzel.
As for beef, it seems like Gábor is not unfamiliar with serious meat – a soft, syrupy, classic piece. The light, buttery mashed potatoes, with parboiled wild cabbage, romaine lettuce and sauce are a delightful winter treat. Alongside the large veal tenderloin (6,200 HUF) comes an amazingly creamy celery purée, with celery chips, parsley oil, winter beetroot, crispy fries and jus simmered for two days.
We know from Pest KIOSK just how big a difference a traditional but redesigned dessert can make: mákos guba (poppy-seed bread pudding, 1,750 Ft) is now also found in Buda, as well as túrógombóc (curd-cheese dumplings, 1,850 HUF). The substantial but foam-light dumpling with crunchy breadcrumbs and sugared sour cream is an ideally satisfying dish, and if we were to swap the breadcrumbs, this would still make any Hungarian grandmother proud. Caution – this is not a one-person dessert - unless you leave out the soup at the start.
There is something else besides the quality of the food and the mood which connect the two KIOSKs: candlelit dinners with live music on Tuesdays, Thursdays piano tunes from Péter Kovács, and classic meat-broth lunches on Sundays.
At this time of year, with so many tables booked, there’s at least one place in Budapest where you can get the kind of quality you find at KIOSK Pest – you just have to cross the Chain Bridge.
District I. Clark Ádám tér
Open: daily 7am-1am