With its Lucky Cap specialty coffee, plant-based dishes and lavishly verdant interior, the Pesti Palánta opposite the City Park is tailor-made for fans of fashionable tropical houseplants.
Set by a former postal distribution centre across Dózsa György út from the City Park, Pesti Palánta has been reconfigured by its two founders with their own hands and turned into a convivial little jungle with superb coffee and vegan snacks.
Viktor Vajda and Peti Murguly are old friends, Viktor originally in advertising films, Peti a car mechanic. Like many of their generation, they also had a dream of a place of their own, a pub, a café, a bar, anything that allowed room for self-realisation. As a home gardener, Viktor has a serious collection of flora indoors and has been vegan for four years. Here, he has woven both personal threads into the business.
This is a rare place where every detail in the design is so right, the quality wooden furniture, the patterned cement tiles, the ceramic coffee cups disguised as tin mugs and the abundant greenery. It is as if you are entering a photo composition for Instagram, which no longer needs a filter or a retouch, the colours and contrasts real. The boys used to do a lot of DIY, and weren’t unfamiliar with plastering, paving, concreting and various types of carpentry.
The café is also an outlet where many of today’s fashionable tropical houseplants – ficuses, begonias, spider plants, arrowheads, philodendrons and Swiss cheese plants – can be obtained at realistic prices. They also purvey purpose-built, hanging bottles for plant storage, similar to test tubes, which can also be placed on a wooden stand. Demand has been high.
By the wall, a humidifier ensures optimal moisture for the residents, essential for tropical plants with filtered light. Viktor also brought some of his plants for decoration, a huge Swiss cheese plants spreading upstairs on the inner terrace facing the hall, while his pride, an arrowhead brought home from Indonesia, has been placed next to the door.
Although neither has previous experience in hospitality, they chose one of the best domestic sources in the field of coffee, the Lucky Cap roastery in Szekszárd, which procures its beans from the estate of the famous Hungarian grower in Costa Rica, László Bányai.
They also try to gather the ingredients for vegan snacks from Hungarian sources, the hand-crafted vegan cheese and cereal sausage from Vegan-Farm used for the chickpea omelette. Also available are the falafel waffle with hummus and smoked cream, the so-called seedling sandwich with mayonnaise-dill cream, and the smoothie platter with granola, frozen fruit, American pancakes and rice-porridge granola, in different flavours. Dishes are priced at 1,490-1,790 forints, an espresso 590.
While houseplants were ignored for decades in public offices and on grandma’s windowsill, they have since become a trendy urban accessory. Service providers are growing up around an international houseplant movement – caring for and keeping a plant alive are instructive pastimes, not least with so many spending much more time at home. Pesti Palánta has therefore arrived at the perfect time, inspirational, practical and relaxing.
District VII. Dózsa György út 50
Open: Mon-Thur 9.30am-5.30pm, Fri-Sun 10am-6pm