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Scusi Focacceria opens to offer supreme Italian-style sandwiches


  • Nemes Nóra

26/11/2020 11.09am

During shutdown, when home delivery or takeaway is the rule, it’s pretty unusual for anyone to open a new outlet – unless the main attraction is perfect street food. Flawless stuffed focaccias created by four young Hungarians are now available behind the National Museum on Bródy Sándor utca.

Focaccia varies according to which part of Italy you are in or where the owner of the place comes from. In Liguria, large, bubbly and thin is typical. In the south, soft and thick is more prevalent. Some are pressed with vegetables and olives before baking, others are plain salted, or lined with meat or rosemary.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

The founders of Scusi Focaccia fell in love with the medium-thick, crisp, richly filled Tuscan version they found in Florence during a sightseeing tour – and when they thought of opening a place in Budapest, this sandwich immediately came to mind.

Long-term acquaintances Pál Bertha, István Fáy and András Major have plenty of experience in hospitality, Pali at Tanti and Alabárdos, István at Callas and Getto Gulyás, András at Café Frei, and three all oversaw Aligha Kert and the Vasmacska Bistro in Balatonaliga. The fourth member of the team, interior designer Dorottya Hoffmann, was responsible for the delivery of Scusi from day one.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

The small space on Bródy Sándor utca is cosy and pleasant, sleek but not industrial, with faux fur chair covers and a charmingly worn Baumgardt piano. It's like a comfortable, modern living room.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

Along with focaccia, the aforementioned Tuscan variety, there are also antipasti and salads, as well as coffees and carefully selected soft drinks.

You can also buy own-made stuffed focaccias from the deli here known as Spajz (‘Pantry’). Although the this is still in its infancy, they would like to expand the range of products in the future with sauces, oils and spicy condiments they have created. The ones they have introduced for Advent are worth trying in the meantime.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

While the idea and 80% of ingredients are Italian, the combination of fillings is more tailored to locals. Since none of the team has Italian ancestry, nor lived, worked or studied there, they don’t even want to pretend they’re experts in the ways of making authentic focaccia. Which, by the way, is an extremely honest attitude in a scene where many feel like they’ve become a grandmaster after completing a one-week course abroad.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

And of course, let’s not forget that these guys each trained in the culinary sciences in top places. All good schools to learn the art of the gourmet sandwich. Let's start with the porchetta (1,750 HUF), in which slices of roast suckling pig sit on a bed of sardine cream. Although spreadable Calabrian sausages and small fish are well known in Italian cuisine, here the cream – tossed with porchetta – was specifically Pali’s idea.

There’s a vegan version for 1,650 forints which is also unorthodox: buckthorn chutney added to peanut butter and goats’ cheese for an unforgettable flavour. Or check out the smoked-beef focaccia (1,900 HUF) with horseradish, which is definitely outside the Italian domain.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

If you prefer tradition, you can indulge in the pesto-and-prosciutto (1,790 HUF) or the mortadella-truffle (1,950 HUF) varieties, seasoned with capers. In addition to the main ingredients, every sandwich includes plenty of vegetables and side salads. Here, too, you find top quality: the lettuce leaves come from Saliverzum in Balástya, as well as specialties such as mizuna, Japanese mustard leaf.

The focaccias come from Brucker Pékség in Budafok, a bakery which supplies several restaurants. The team tried at least ten different Brucker bread recipes before settling on the focaccia served today – crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. The finished focaccia is then cut in two, and filled to the brim with the sandwich ingredients, resulting in masterpieces weighing in at half a kilo.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

The salads are also a feather in the restaurant’s cap, as they are fresh and light, and accompanied with toasted focaccia. With Italy as the inspiration, you can expect to find great coffee here, as well, and the dark-roasted Colombia beans are brewed into a perfect cup by the San Remo coffee machine.

There’s also a lighter roast available, as well as sea buckthorn and beetroot-apple juices from a primary producer in Szombathely.

Photo: Forgács Zsuzsanna - We Love Budapest

It’s sad that you can't sit down and tuck in, as the lovely, homely interior is especially peaceful and seductive – ideally you’ll be able to relax here in the spring. For now, you can rely on Wolt and NetPincér to deliver Scusi specialities straight to your door – or stop by in person to pick up an order for takeaway.

Scusi Focacceria
District VIII. Bródy Sándor utca 11 

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