Newly opened café-bistro. the Aranybástya, is set in the ornate Lónyay-Hatvany villa, underscored by Hungarian history. Offering a breathtaking panorama, the ‘Golden Bastion’ refers to the Ottoman occupation 500 years ago and echoes the Golden Age of Budapest, when it was rebuilt from ruins. Now it’s an impressive café, restaurant and performance space.
Once the hub of a whirling social life, closed for 20 years until now, the Aranybástya can trace its heritage back to the Turkish era. During the Ottoman occupation, this was a Turkish fortification, the Golden Bastion, destroyed during the recapture of Buda in 1686.
Between 1870 and 1872, Miklós Ybl of Opera House fame designed a Neo-Renaissance building with Classicist elements on the site of the ruins. In 1915, the villa on the eastern steps of Buda Castle was bought by art collector and painter Baron Ferenc Hatvany, who installed his prestigious collection of nearly 800 works of art.
Reconstruction of the villa began in 2000, with the aim of reviving the memory of the building with an adventurous past. Keeping to Ybl’s original plans, architect József Kerényi was responsible for the exterior, while Japanese designer Tadao Ando and the UK’s Ilse Crawford took care of the interior.
Chef Tamás Tóth oversees a bistro kitchen which, according to him, is essentially “good, easy ingredients made simply and fused with 21st-century techniques”. Péter László, the former confectioner at the KIOSK-Babel Budapest restaurants, takes care of the outstanding range of cake.
In addition to artisanal sausages, the menu includes grilled sea bass with beluga lentil salad, and fillet mignon with pickled onions and shrimps. Pride of place goes to the multi-layered Golden Bastion house dessert.
On one level below the restaurant, at the imposing surroundings of the original wall and the entrance to the tunnel system, an amphitheatre-like salon has been designed for performances and roundtable discussions.