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Iconic Mediterranean dishes meet Hungarian specialities – This is Caviar&Bull


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07/02/2023 9.46am

If you're looking for a unique and world-class gastronomic experience, visit the Corinthia Hotel Budapest, where the Caviar&Bull restaurant offers exactly that. They claim to be the eccentrics of Budapest's gastronomic scene; once you visit, you are guaranteed a world-class culinary adventure. It's no coincidence that they have nothing but excellent reviews on almost every platform, but most importantly, they have regulars who love them. Now we've gone behind the scenes.

Mediterranean touches, new trends

Caviar&Bull opened in Budapest more than five years ago. Back then we reported on Maltese chef Marvin Gauci's arrival in Hungary, who is one of the most well-known gastronomic figures in his country, and was preparing to implement his Maltese success in Budapest. His restaurant was then considered by many to be the perfect place for fine dining Mediterranean cuisine and molecular gastronomy.

The elegant yet laid-back and casual interior is inviting from afar

Photo: Caviar & Bull

However, the last five years have brought many changes to the restaurant, with György Tivadar as head chef and Tamás Hegedűs as restaurant manager responsible for the current image and menu. Marvin is no longer involved in the day-to-day operation and has complete trust in his Hungarian managers. Perhaps this is why the cuisine is no longer Mediterranean, although the menu retains a few dishes from the early days. And the molecular elements are only present in the technology, but certainly not in the overall character of the dishes.

Hungarian ingredients and flavours in the spotlight

'We are proud that we have managed to include Hungarian ingredients and flavours on the menu for quite some time now; Tokaji Mangalica pork is one of our most popular dishes,' says chef György Tivadar.

'On the one hand, local flavours are important because we have a lot of foreign guests who are curious about them, and on the other hand, it is also interesting for the local audience to taste the Mangalica pork stew as we make it, or the rainbow trout paprikash from the village of Tahitótfalu, which we serve with dill paprika sauce and traditional Hungarian gnocchi.'

Tokaji Mangalica pork is popular among locals and foreign guests alike

Photo: Caviar & Bull

'I've always considered it crucial to give the restaurant a character; not drastically or densely, but by changing the offer several times a year, where we refer to the owner, keeping his iconic dishes like the ‘lobster popcorn’ or smoked Omaha beef carpaccio, but also gradually introducing elements of the Hungarian cuisine into the menu,' the chef explains.

In keeping with the restaurant's name, the caviar selection makes up a large part of the menu, and the steak selection is also quite strong. Alongside these, two degustation menus (the Contemporary and the Cosmopolitan) will guide you through the evening if you prefer not to order from the menu. 'If you're curious about our style, you should probably choose one of the degustation menus,' restaurant manager Tamás Hegedűs recommends.

'We prepare our dishes to a high standard using high-quality ingredients. We can present them in such a way that the delivery, service, and refreshments add an extra touch. And that's probably what our guests appreciate.'

One of Marvin Gauci's iconic dishes, "lobster popcorn", is also worth a try

Photo: Caviar & Bull

Vegetarian dishes are also featured on the menu, such as baked cauliflower with mizo beurre blanc and puffed quinoa

Photo: Caviar & Bull

Where customer feedback matters

Like many other restaurants, the Caviar&Bull was forced to close during COVID, but since then, life has mostly returned to normal. 'The big challenge last year was that raw material prices and utility costs went through the roof. And you can't compromise on quality because a cheaper raw material won't allow you to do what you want with it. And you can't raise prices as much as the external economic environment would justify. It is the love and feedback of our guests that keep us going,' chef György Tivadar says.

Mediterranean specialities are also offered, such as octopus with black olives, roasted potato dumplings, chorizo sauce, and confit tomatoes

Photo: Caviar & Bull

'The second half of 2021 was all about rebuilding, as many people returned to the catering sector with a lack of confidence. Today, our team is the same size as prior to the pandemic, and our turnover is gradually returning to an economical level,' restaurant manager Tamás Hegedűs emphasises.

'No matter what happens in the world, our restaurant will always remain an island with a laid-back atmosphere in the evenings, where foreigners and locals fill the space with life. We're not really in the public eye, but based on the feedback we get, it's safe to say that an evening here will be one of the most memorable gastronomic experiences of your life. And some people actually come back to us every year when they visit from abroad; we've even had a tourist who discovered us on the first day of their stay and came back every night after that.'

The slow-cooked veal neck, accompanied by caramelised cabbage, green apples, and veal jus is not only delicious but eye-catching, too

Photo: Caviar & Bull

Caviar&Bull is a completely unique highlight in Budapest's gastronomic scene. Exciting dishes, an extremely friendly atmosphere, and the sense of sitting in a place that only the truly initiated know about – that's what they offer. They are definitely worth a visit.

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