Good things can happen when a baker and a coffee lover get together. Sourdough bread, crispy pastries, delicious, frothy coffee at low introductory prices considering the quality, all now await at a renovated landmark in a leafy part of Buda. We headed up to the recently opened Babushka Bakery to see for ourselves.
Owners Eszti and Marci share a long passion for baking and cooking, but they originally started out from completely different backgrounds. While Marci is a coffee
aficionado, Eszti was a speech therapist, and only started to take bread more
seriously when on maternity leave.
Just as various friends and neighbours became eager to try Eszti's bread, so this activity grew of its own accord, at the front of the young couple’s nearby apartment.
Of course, no one is born a baker. In addition to Eszti's love of sourdough, she learned from masters such as Bea Kovács of Búzalelke and Gabriella Ormós from the Jenő Bakery. The crunch came when the speech therapist won the amateur prize with her wholemeal bread at the 2020 Bread Soul Festival. The name of the store, in fact, refers to Eszter, nicknamed Babuska by her husband.
The bakery building is also special, as a small storefront occupied this corner of Sasadi út from the ’80s on, operating as a rather dilapidated greengrocer’s. Now renovated, the place has been granted a better fate, one worthy of affection. Locals looked upon its predecessor with a sense of regret and the fact that the nature and proportions of the building have not changed even after renovation pleases many residents.
The goods are created before your very eyes, you can follow the process through a glass wall to see that there is no fraud or deception. Here, real people make real bread and pastries from real ingredients.
Of course, not everyone sees the value of light-roasted coffee and
sourdough bread, but the produce is undoubtedly tasty, and you can sense the love
that goes into each item.
As Eszti says, every single loaf needs to be pampered to be successful, and this is the part she loves best about baking. Yes, it may be hard to love 100-120 loaves a day as you would 20 or 30, but the enthusiasm here is palpable.
But there’s more than just one type of bread at Babushka. Among the options, there’s always a smooth sourdough (HUF 750), with a nice crispy crust and a slightly sour, springy body, as well as a dark and equally slightly sour wholewheat (HUF 650) with a touch of caramel aftertaste. Every day, there’s also a different kind of flavoured bread (HUF 750).
We tried the jalapeño-and-cheddar, which had only a hint of pungency, just
enough to counteract the sourdough. We just put plain butter on
it, allowing the basic flavours to shine.
It also seemed worth trying the walnut-and-plum and roast-onion versions as well. Thanks to the light, fluffy, soft milk loaf made with a different sourdough (HUF 890), a ten-minute daily cake + cocoa break should appeal to most residents.
The situation is similarly promising on the pastry front. Be sure to try the pecan brownie (HUF 450), fudge-like on the inside and crunchy on the outside, the first bite a promise of what’s to come. The filling is also generously applied in the cocoa swirl (HUF 450, without overpowering the dough.
The cardamom roll with vanilla and blueberries (HUF 490) should also please, and the plain croissant (HUF 350) hits the spot inside and out. The tuna pillow (HUF 590) is especially delicious, where the buttered pastry and fish blend very well, while the beautiful pastry layers of the gorgonzola pillow (HUF 450) complement the tang of the cheese, an excellent start to any day.
Alongside, you can choose from the Nectaria juices and the light-roasted coffees by Casino Mocca, from which a latte (HUF 650), cappuccino (HUF 590) or plain espresso (HUF 390) are prepared on a classic La Marzocco machine.
Babushka serves these delights five days a week, so it’s worth heading up on the 53 bus to the Tömös utca stop for decent coffee and pastries, and to pick up a loaf from the little wooden hut.