Three Séf Asztala restaurants have long been serving schnitzels and, as their motto says, world peace, to the diners of Budapest. Now another has opened – much bigger and more central than its stablemates.
Right in the shadow of Parliament, the latest outlet in the Séf Asztala chain is large enough to house its own complete bakery, deli section and extended menu of classic, affordable Hungarian dishes. As owner András Wolf explained, its simple concept is to provide what Hungarians like to eat – the menu is packed with schnitzels, meaty broths and sausages.
The façade of this office building, designed by Dezső Hültl in 1928, fits perfectly in the space of the square, Parliament in full view from much of the completely modern, open-plan interior. Within, the most outstanding feature is a stone column, a hangover when this was the headquarters of MTESz, the Association of Technical and Science Unions, back in the ’70s.
Separate dining spaces create their own atmosphere, either for coffee, a substantial meal or a working lunch. The restaurant’s most popular meals and products are displayed around the walls, while randomly installed shelves store a selection of quality ingredients, such as Wessex Mill flour for those looking to bake fine sourdough breads, or top-notch jams by Lek-Vár-Lak.
András is known for his uncompromising attitude when it comes to food, and won’t stop until he sees maximum results. He’s been perfecting a sourdough bread recipe relentlessly for three years, and is finally bringing it to light. There are, on average, seven different types of bread on any given day, from the classic Hungarian variety all the way to French-style pastries. With excellent sandwiches and salads, the offer at Séf Asztala extends beyond what you would find at most bakeries. The locally made sandwiches feature Hungarian flavours with premium ingredients, like the truly old-fashioned luncheon-meat roll (790 HUF), made with mangalica pork from Tokaj, homemade mayonnaise and gherkins. These flawless sandwiches range up to 1,390 forints, while the four to five types of salads belong to a slightly more expensive category. As usual, all ingredients are carefully selected and originate from small-batch producers.
Apart from the lunch options, you can find products such as Greek yoghurts as well as plenty of desserts – the delicious aranygaluska (a Hungarian dessert with dumpling balls layered into a cake and topped with vanilla custard) and the caramel-coated tejbegríz (semolina pudding) are the highlights.
The bakery goods include white, half-rye and wholegrain sourdough breads, as well as root breads and Italian focaccias. Here you’ll also find slices of sweet, Jewish layered flódni and homemade pasta.
Those looking for the honest Séf Asztala dishes will also not be disappointed: the Wiener schnitzel (3,390 HUF), the fried cheese (2,190 HUF) and the bouillon (1,990 HUF) are just as tasty here. Other classics, such as the lentil stew with mangalica sausage, mangalica spare ribs with potatoes and pickles (3,190 HUF), Hungarian stuffed cabbage (2,990 HUF) and baked trout (3,900 HUF) also feature.
Although representing simple Hungarian cuisine, Séf Asztala puts a slight twist into all of their dishes, while retaining a familiar and friendly attitude to food. It is everything you can hope for when looking for hearty yet top-quality fare, a tasty and reliable option in the heart of town.
District V. Kossuth Lajos tér 6
Open: Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm