The golden days of the Orient Express may have long gone but a recent opened venture by Keleti station brings a little international flavour to this major rail hub. Despite its illustrious architectural heritage, Keleti has long been filled with cheap eateries. Now the Orient Café, offers coffee specialties and special teas, not to mention the rarely found Slav drink, kvass, available here in intimate, cosy surroundings.
Coming in from the bustle around Keleti, the Orient Café stands out from the row of bland outlets across the main road from the station, a veritable island of tranquillity.
The first thing that strikes you is the plants – no artificial flowers ones here – before your eyes take in the colours, the shapes, the pictures on display and the well-chosen music in the background. Gotan Project were playing on our particular visit. The direct, friendly staff radiate warmth.
You can choose from a variety of croissants, pastries and sandwiches as well as quiche, not only for omnivores but vegans, as well. Hot drinks are the main focus here, though, with a wide selection of coffee and tea, from the traditional to the now trendy espresso tonic.
One particular curiosity is kvass, the refreshing, non-alcoholic cereal-based drink popular in summer throughout eastern and north-eastern Europe.
In terms of prices, the Orient is absolutely fair, and a handy alternative to the less attractive spots in the station itself.