From this month, bathers can again plunge into the waters of Lágymányosi Bay, as they would have done more than a century ago. A new public amenity, SHO Beach BudaPart, has just opened – we dipped our toes in the water and tested out the food on offer.
After a hard day’s work or frantic week, you can now swim by the Danube, 15 minutes from downtown hustle and bustle. Although the construction going on around BudaPart and the MOL tower buildings can still be seen in the background, in the foreground you can relax on the main beach, grassy or sandy, and select special summer dishes and iced cocktails.
SHO Beach BudaPart is a harmony of greys, whites and light wood, the waterfront lined with Italian sun loungers and parasols. There’s a grassy area for the lockers and special events, a separate VIP area, spacious toilets and well-designed changing rooms.
Some of the services are housed in special, wave-proof floating houses. There will soon be SUP and a water swing – selfie spots are already in place. The water is of decent quality, all activities overseen by a team of well-trained staff.
As the water deepens quite rapidly, special attention should be given to smaller children. Adults should be able to enjoy a proper swim after work. Parking is paid-for – perhaps nearby Kopaszi-gát is a better option. No pets are allowed.
SHO Beach isn’t cheap: 3,200 forints during the week, 4,000 at weekends, children charged 1,600 and 2,000 respectively. Discounted admission is 2,300 and 2,800 forints. Admission is charged between 10am and 6.30pm, with swimming allowed until 7pm, so late-comers can enjoy a free swim for those last 30 minutes.
There’s also a gastro ticket (HUF 2,000) which allows you to eat one decent meal a visit. Sweet delights are provided by Cloud 9 desserts, but you can also sample the rethought pop-up beach dishes by the renowned gastro team at MÁK, their downtown restaurant closed until the autumn, and SHO BEACH Grill & Chill.
MÁK’s János Mizsei has turned traditional beach dishes into fine dining. The usually standard lángos (HUF 1,800) is made here with slowly fermented milk-and-poppy pasta, on which the cheeses of the artisanal Vászolyi Cheese Manufactory are added, as well as poppy-sour cream and pickled wild onion.
The raw material of the fried catfish (HUF 3,900) is also domestic: it comes in a tempura and special vinegar-style breading, with a little smoked pepper, Maldon salt and Cayenne pepper. As a side dish, it has fermented and boiled green beans and horseradish pea puree, plus a little roasted buckwheat to provide extra crispiness.
The suckling pig (HUF 3,600) was inspired by the sandwiches of childhood, but the unique flavours of pork leg and fermented quince with ras el hanout spice and thyme are more reminiscent of a fine-dining restaurant than family beach holidays. The garnish is fermented cabbage and coleslaw.
The chimney cake (HUF 1,600) comes with grilled peach and rhubarb roots stuffed in the middle, as well as poppy brown-butter mousse. You’ll be licking all ten fingers afterwards.
Some may know the name of Sándor Kiss from the Miele Cooking School. At SHO Beach Chill & Grill, he has brought traditional but significantly more novel dishes to Lágymányosi Bay. The duck sausage (HUF 2,500) wins out in terms of colour, taste and texture, served with artisanal bread by Szabolcs Szabadfi and the inevitable mustard and sour cucumber. This is classic beach food, made of quality ingredients.
The chicken fajita (HUF 2,200) comes with cheddar sauce and homemade ketchup, all the ingredients made fresh on-site, and it shows. The hamburger (2,800 HUF) sits within a bun of Szabolcs Szabadfi bread, the beef fresh from domestic Terra Pannonia. The chia pudding with fruit sauce (HUF 1,500) is another beach delicacy.
Everything is served on environmentally friendly, single-use plates and in Repohár glasses.
Though not cheap, SHO Beach BudaPart is ambitious. Plans include gastronomic events, with other types scheduled. And in winter, it may open for mulled wine by the icy waters of the Danube.