Bringing that Balaton feeling a little closer to Budapest, the Paletta restaurant on Tompa utca and owner Dani Bezerics always have something special up their sleeve, whether it involves gastronomy or community-building. A great recent innovation is Estipiac, a street market, a tasting event and a community space all in one, running every Wednesday.
Although still not quite subsumed into Budapest’s party zone, Tompa utca in District IX would be a decent candidate. Among several factors in its favour, few cars pass by and great new locales pop up pretty regularly. Now, new community colour has been added to the street palette, thanks to the Paletta Restaurant and its Wednesday evening market, Estipiac.
The idea, conceived by Paletta owner Dani Bezerics, was to allow visitors to sample excellent produce while enjoying music in a communal atmosphere. As a restaurant, Paletta has always promoted quality products from farmers and smaller producers, and is now inviting these same suppliers to take part in Estipiac, so that diners can sample these wares not only at Paletta, but at home, too.
But that’s not all – on Wednesday market days, Paletta prepares special dishes, using products out for sale in front of the restaurant. There’s a DJ playing relaxing lounge music to enhance the atmosphere, as children, friends, families and dogs mingle.
The producers usually arrive around 4pm to unpack and arrange their goodies. By 5pm, those rushing home after work might be lucky enough to find nice truffles, apple juice or quality pasta. The market stays open until 9pm. You’ll find a mostly mini gourmet selection, such as smoked sausages and hams by DeliBox Hungarikum, apple juice by Csakis Alma, goats’ cheese and homemade pasta by the Barázda Communal Cooperative from Tiszaörs, and fiery chili products by Rob-chi. Truffles and truffle products can be found at Tamás Polgár’s stand.
In terms of snacking, there are slight changes to the menu from time to time, following the availability of seasonal ingredients. Permanent options include amazing wild sourdough pizzas, olives and marrow bone on toast. Those arriving as a group should try the special offer: two pizzas and a bottle semi-sparkling wine cost 5,000 forints.
The aim of Estipiac is for as many restaurants on Tompa utca to join in with the Wednesday fun as possible, and for the market to reach the end of the street. Several venues have felt up to the challenge in the last few months, including Crafty, the small pub next door, offering varied beers, as well as Flaska, hosting themed wine events on market evenings. The nearby Art Café is also worth a visit, offering fine sugar-free desserts that are just right after wine and dinner.
Estipiac is a brilliant initiative – while drinking wine under the trees and lanterns on warm summer evenings, chatting and lounging with friends and sampling excellent products, you almost feel as if you’ve dropped into a charming little Mediterranean town. Let’s hoping that this event not only stays and develops on Tompa street, but spreads to other areas around town as well, so more and more can enjoy this subtle, hedonistic, community-focused joy.
Facebook events page here