In the bohemian café culture of a century or more ago, life did not stop at any point in the day, because places perfectly followed their regulars’ way of life. People worked passionately in the morning, engaged in interesting discussions later in the day then took relaxation seriously in the evening. BABA reinterprets this world, and in its large, modern and airy spaces, you can spend the whole day into evening over delicious food and drinks.
BABA revives café culture from breakfast to bedtime in downtown Budapest
BABA is personified by someone who is open, smiling and convivial in the morning, then hot and sexy in the evening. Its corner room allows for this transformation while the high, airy space of the main interior, designed by Dóra Fónagy, features an open kitchen visible from the street, a living room-like carpeted area and plenty of living plants.
The glass portals can be opened in their entirety, so groups can come and go, the outside and the inside are not separated. Sitting on the chairs next to the long, wide bar, you can comfortably finish the last e-mail of the day and then switch to cocktails.
The overall effect is not too crowded, but rather lively and relaxed. Food also has a role in this, as two types of menus (Daylight and Moonlight) await, depending on when you arrive.
Incidentally, the kitchen is overseen by Levente Lendvai, the young sous chef at exclusive fine-dining destination Arany Kaviár, while Máté Rippert strengthens the team as executive chef. The menu is basically Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern in style, with light dishes available during the day, drinks and their associated flavours taking over by the evening. The atmospheric bar concept has been conceived by Bence Kardos.
Our visit happened just at the time of the change between the two times of the day, so as well as the delicacies, we could test how certain functions of BABA interacted with each other. Sure enough, working lunches spontaneously slid into afternoon relaxation.
From the breakfast menu, the signature Eggs Benedict loosely reinterpreted the great classic. Sophie (HUF 3,800) was a turbocharged
version with plenty of health and energy, to which the parsley hollandaise
added colour and spice.
The sweet variety, Rosa (HUF 3,800), might sound strange at first, but reveals new flavours and textures. On the outside, Turkish honey, feta, slow-roasted strawberries, bread, and vanilla cream merge in a fresh fashion. It quickly became our favourite.
Once the breakfast flavours had sufficiently
whipped up our curiosity, we moved on to the evening menu. First, we started
with Twin Girls (HUF 3,800), two oysters, one raw, the other prepared with spiced butter and fried in the Big Green
Egg in the kitchen.
Both were delicious, as was the next, light and well marinated salmon (HUF 4,200). Then we tasted our other favourite, the St James scallop tartar with green apple (HUF 5,600). The fruit fills the dish with freshness, and the result will appeal to both beginners and advanced seafood fans.
The chicken wings (HUF 2,800) were delicious and sophisticated, and the pork mangalica tonkatsu (HUF 3,500) imbued another classic dish with special flavours. For this meat in Japanese breadcrumbs, in accordance with local tradition, fattier ribs are used, the exterior crispy, the inside soft.
These dishes were washed down with very pleasant, crisp cocktails. Since most of them have a low alcohol content, you can even complement a bohemian breakfast if you’d rather not have champagne.
1051 Budapest, Sas utca 2
Open: Daily 9am-midnight