The New York Palace is one of the most striking buildings on Grand Boulevard, an architectural splendour from the heyday of the turn of the century. Today, it is home to the five-star Anantara Hotel, which offers modern luxury while preserving the grandiose milieu. And this luxury is not only available for hotel guests: anyone is welcome to visit the hotel's spa, the New York Café, and, from now on, the White Salon Restaurant. You can even be among the first ones to try the latter as it opened only a couple of days ago. We paid them a visit and here is what we thought.
Dine in the New York Palace - White Salon Restaurant opens with creative Hungarian dishes
We leave the business of Grand Boulevard behind as we step into the impressive Neo-Renaissance building of the New York Palace, which houses the five-star Anantara Hotel. Inside, we stride past the world's most beautiful café on our way to the recently opened White Salon Restaurant, and it feels like being transported back to the grandeur of the last century. The Palace is glamorous, famous and historic, no wonder it appeared in Hollywood films, such as Spy Game or Red Sparrow.
And no wonder the Anantara New York Palace became one of the most unique hotels in Budapest: we have already gushed about its opening and its coffeehouse (the New York Café), we also spent a night in one of the elegant rooms, and got away from the winter chill to its welcoming spa. And we are back on a mission to be among the first ones to try its new restaurant.
White Salon Restaurant
Nestled on the first floor, right above the lavish New York Café, White Salon Restaurant feels like the venue of an exclusive dining experience with polite but leisurely service. You can see and hear the chatter at the café below, but you are comfortably separated from the crowd while having a breathtaking view of it all. A pianist is playing soothing tunes, and you are kindly escorted to your table.
The place is nothing short of glamorous: the walls are decorated in white and gold (hence the name), and the golden columns, the chandeliers, the majestic mirrors, and the velvet sofas and chairs all add to the elegance, gently reminding you that you are indeed in a palace.
Hungarian cuisine and casual dining
Upon settling down, freshly sliced sourdough bread appears on the table from thin air, accompanied by balls of butter and tiny bottles of olive oil, shortly followed by a neatly designed amuse bouche (pork bites). The cuisine is Hungarian, but after peeking at the menu and seeing dishes such as fish soup with kimchi or Mangalica chop with ramen velouté, you can tell right away that there is a twist. Traditional dishes come with refreshing creativity and surprising flavour combinations.
Before we go into details about what you should try, meet the men behind the dishes: corporate chef András Wolf and executive chef Dániel Bíró. András is a well-known figure in the Hungarian gastro scene, bringing decades of expertise. Dániel is a young talent, who polished his skills abroad (e.g. at the Restaurant Konstantin Filippou, a Viennese spot with 2 Michelin stars), and adds fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the duo.
Their idea for the White Salon Restaurant is to offer a 'casual dining' experience and prepare top-notch traditional Hungarian food with a new approach. They rephrase old favourites courageously, with an open mind and a myriad of flavours. And it works. It results in modern dishes paying homage to Hungarian specialities and evoking international cuisines at the same time. The menu is short but to the point, and it will change seasonally as they are extremely conscious about the quality and the origins of the ingredients, using local products wherever possible.
A four-course meal with optional wine pairings is available, and we were not hesitant to try it. For a starter, we had Duck liver with quince variations and freshly baked brioche. Then we tried the Hungarian Korhely fish soup, which had intrigued us since we first spotted it on the menu. The Hungarian carp gets a savoury stock thanks to the fermented cabbage, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Intense flavours come through in all the dishes, which is quite the appeal in the heartwarming Guinea-fowl consommé too, enriched with meat jelly and ginger gel. If you appreciate colourful presentations as we do, do not miss the Beetroot variations for a starter and the Pumpkin, red pear and walnut trio for a main - both coming with such aesthetics, you will want to take a picture of them instantly.
However, our favourite dish was the Mangalica chop, which we could not fault. It was succulent, roasted to perfection, and came with dödölle (bread dumplings) and a ramen velouté. For dessert, you can choose typical Hungarian sweets in such modern guises that even Hungarians would not recognise them. Nonetheless, Poppy seed "guba" (a bread-based dessert), and Kaiserschmarrn (a lightly sweetened dough named after emperor Franz Joseph I) with Tokaj-flavoured raisins are both spectacular.
As the White Salon Restaurant opened at the beginning of January, you can even be among the first ones to try the culinary adventure that awaits in this tastefully lavish atmosphere. You can also start the day in the Deepwater breakfast space, sip a coffee at the café, enjoy a drink in the Poets’ Bar, and relax in the spa, even if you are not a guest of the hotel. If you would like to book a stay, you can do so here.