Normafa Delikát has been in the planning for many years and was just about to launch when the shutdown happened. So, two months later, this family-friendly bistro has opened on the site of the former delicatessen, with great coffee, wine, hearty breakfasts, seasonal lunches and unbeatable Balázs Damniczki ice cream.
The names of Dávid Merker and Bori Koniorczyk are not unknown to those who are interested in the hidden secrets of Budapest: Bori and Dávid, behind the Hosszúlépes. Járunk? project of interesting urban discoveries. The idea of opening their own place had long been in place, but that place somehow didn’t want to exist.
A few years ago, when they covered a tour of the former Hotel Olympia, slated to be demolished, a dilapidated small shop next to the KFKI housing estate on Eötvös út came into view. The process eventually took much longer than they thought, and by the time they were ready, the crisis hit.
The lengthy preparations were due not only to the usual slings and arrows of opening a new business, but also to the fact that Bori and Dávid, as enthusiastic urbanists, wanted to preserve as much of the original building and interior as possible. Bori placed great emphasis on the interior reflecting the style of the 60s. It has worked: the Metlach floor is instant nostalgia, and the counter and décor also evoke the era.
At the same time, great care was taken to ensure that the place was not purely retro, with clean, modern furniture perfectly complementing the original objects selected one by one.
Bori and Dávid dared to start up a place without hospitality experience because, as they say, those behind their favourite places are as enthusiastic and self-taught as they are. Plus, they wanted to create a place they would be looking for if they came to Normafa to hike with their little girl – there are few places to grab a bite there.
The couple are also firmly 21st-century: “I lived in London for a couple of years and I miss the places that are so typical of the parks there: sophisticated coffee, delicious sandwiches, family-friendly dishes,” says Bori.
Another motif runs through the concept of the whole place: that it should be accommodating to both children and adults. Inside is an intimate little kiddies’ corner waiting to be used, and grown-ups can also hide undisturbed at the back. The children’s area, dotted with books and little furniture, was put together with the help of an expert: their own little girl selected the books to be put on the shelf.
At Normafa Delikát, they’ll be waiting for you all day: early risers with specialty coffee and fresh pastries, as well as a relatively wide breakfast menu that you can order all day – no-one will slap your wrist if you ask for American pancakes at two in the afternoon.
Hot breakfasts start off with crunchy hot dogs with mustard and French baguette, American pancakes with blackberry jam or maple syrup, egg-coated braided bread, omelettes or just porridge.
Prices are friendly: the more serious breakfasts cost 1,490 forints, simpler ones 890.
It is important for Bori and team in the kitchen to work ingredients provided by small-batch producers where possible, and that the food should at least be regional, if not local. “I had a hard time imagining salmon or avocado arriving here so then it didn’t get on the menu,” Bori says with a smile.
In the spirit of the above, they also pay a lot of attention to environmentally conscious packaging, they do not use plastic – all materials are biodegradable.
During the day, there will be a couple of homemade main courses: lecsó tomato-and-pepper stew, fried chicken leg with salad, homemade pasta, exciting salads and nourishing bowls form the backbone of the menu.
In the evening, in addition to sampling the wine assortment, you can order light – duck liver pâté, aubergine spread, hummus or sheep’s cheese spread with roasted peppers (1,490-2,190 HUF). The rules are not set in stone: you can also eat duck liver pâté for breakfast and choose an omelette for dinner.
Whatever you choose, it’s worth bookending it with dessert, which they take very seriously. For those who looking for everything allergy-free, they offer desserts from Nyers, the flódni cake arrives with a flourish from Flódnis.
However, the big hitter at Normafa Delikát is the chestnut purée. It was added to the menu in the spirit of retro but, nostalgia apart, this just a nod to the favourite dessert of the ’60s: the creamy chestnut, the delicious whipped cream and the foam made from real cream are way ahead of even the most impeccable examples from that era.
And anyone who just stops off for ice cream is in luck: Balázs Damniczki’s superb iced treats await behind the counter, ranging from classic to innovative flavours.
And if you don’t feel like sitting outside the newly revamped Eötvös Park, and would rather hide amid its foliage or sit on Nagyrét meadow, you can also rent a picnic basket, blanket and all. There’s a fixed package or you can choose the selection of spreads and desserts.
District XII. Eötvös út 47-53
Bus 21 to Normafa, Gyermekvasút
Open: Wed-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-8pm