Greek owners Janula and Dimitrios looked into each other’s eyes, raised a glass of decent wine and decided that Mythos would be the name of their restaurant, where they would show Hungarians what real Greek cuisine was like. Fortunately, before riding off into the sunset, they actually opened Mythos on Arany János utca where, indeed, lighter, more refined and more versatile Greek cuisine is now being served.
The Greeks like to eat well. Communal dining means good company, tables set with beautiful, colourful ceramics, plenty of fresh vegetables and light seafood snacks.
This is also true at Mythos, where warm hospitality greets the visitor, and there’s a direct correlation between food producer, chef and contented diner.
Janula and Dimitrios only added kebabs to their menu later, they didn’t originally build on what you find in fast-food restaurants. They import raw ingredients from Greece, where Dimitrios can look back on decades in the hospitality trade, providing him with useful contacts as far as small-batch producers are concerned.
In Greece, you buy feta from your home village, and the meat is slaughtered
and sliced in the neighbouring town, and fish also comes from smaller local
The menu here, therefore, is an exciting one. In line with traditional eating habits, you find nearly 30 meze, the Greeks usually asking for several varieties, the dishes ordered and consumed together.
In fact, Greeks seem to be genetically encoded so that they can’t serve fewer
than four to five dishes at any given time. For the feta saganaki (HUF 1,790), all the
trouble of sourcing the cheese from Greek friends seems to have been worth it.
This fried delicacy wrapped in filo pastry and coated with honey, like strudel,
was at once savoury, crispy and creamy sweet.
A similar harmony of sweet and savoury flavours characterised the Mythos salad (HUF 2,590), where a simple mixture of oranges, sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts served on a bed of rocket with balsamic dressing, its special taste and texture augmented in one scoop by the superb mizithra cheese, somewhere between cottage cheese and mascarpone.
Among the spreads, the aubergine (HUF 1,490) allows the smokiness of the grilled vegetables to be counterbalanced by a little red-wine vinegar. And, if talking about the canon of meze and salads, we should mention dakos (HUF 1,990), comparable to bruschetta – the difference being that the tomatoes come with capers and cream cheese, and the crunch is provided by Greek rusks twice baked.
The chef’s offer changes monthly and always focuses on a typical staple. We were lucky to be able to sample salads in June – octopus month – and July, mussels, which was to say grilled green mussels with garlic-lemon-and-mustard sauce.
For August, fish takes the
lead. The red mullet salad with lemon potatoes (HUF 4,490) is a real speciality,
evoking sea air and the hum of cicadas, although you're only sat in Arany János utca,
close to Budapest’s business quarter.
And the delicious smokiness of the grilled sardines (HUF 3,490) makes you re-evaluate what you have thought about this otherwise simple fish so far. And if you don’t want seafood, try the pork brizola (HUF 3,690). The pork cut in the Greek way is soft and juicy, but not fatty.
Greek Mythos beer, of course, may accompany and at the end of the meal you can choose from the spectacular coffee specialities. Some of these are cold, milky delicacies, but you can also try the Greek coffee that comes in a traditional copper pourer. You should say in advance how much sugar you want in your coffee because it is made on the spot, so say goodbye to sachets and the sugar residue that settles to the bottom of the cup.
The decoration of the place is moderately Greek, they don’t overdo the blue and white but familiar Hellenic culture shows itself in the meandering patterns and soft music. Of course, a pleasant environment is really a bonus. Food such as this could be enjoyed in a whitewashed, windowless room. Grab some friends, gather round over a shameless number of meze, get talking and get eating!
Mythos The Greek
District V. Arany János utca 17
Current opening hours: Daily noon-11.45pm