Sunday, 1 September 2013

Budapest Restaurant & Palinka Bar, Elsternwick

Instagram: @joicejlau

Ah, Budapest! What memories...right up there as one of my top 10 favourite cities in the world, a restaurant named in its honour and serving up Hungarian cuisine was sure to grab my attention. I've now dined here twice. And you know you've come to the right place when the whole table behind you is speaking Hungarian...

As an entrée before my review, let me share one of my many travel photos of Budapest the magnificent city, in all its free-spirited glory:

Anyway, on to Budapest the restaurant and what it has in store for vegicureans. Huge portions, for one, are not just reserved for meat-eaters at this place! And the good news is, they've taken specific care to include vegetarian options in most sections of the menu. By the way, please excuse the photos - the restaurant lighting made it really tough to get better photos.

We started with a round of drinks: apple pálinka for my friends, and imported Hungarian peach juice for me. Good peach juice is one thing I really miss about Europe!

Knowing that the portions are as big as they are, we passed on entrees and went straight for the mains. My friends chose schnitzels, while I ordered the same thing I got the first time I ate here: crumbed camembert cheese served with peasant potatoes, csiki sauce and braised red cabbage. The deal is that you can add an extra side to any main for $4, so I added nokedli (Hungarian dumplings) with paprika sauce, although as you can see in my second photo, they forgot to give me the paprika sauce until I reminded them. Again, my main dish did not fail to please; it is absolutely true to the various versions of this dish which I've enjoyed on my travels around central Europe. And, our whole table agreed that the peasant potatoes were absolutely delicious; so much better than your average boring mash!

Thoroughly bursting at the seams after mains, we nonetheless couldn't resist a sneaky (well, not so sneaky...check out the size of this thing!!) sweet finish to the meal. My friend and I split a Rákóczi cream cheese crepe served with vanilla ice cream. It was very tasty, with a perfect hint of zinginess to the cream cheese, but alas, due to the sheer size of it, we couldn't finish it! If anything, I thought there was a LOT of cream in proportion to the actual crepe, but it was definitely a very tasty dish overall.

Well done to Budapest for looking after us veggie heads despite the fact that Hungarian cuisine is traditionally very meaty. Service was a bit slow and forgetful compared to my first visit (e.g. the waitress gave us a bottle of water but forgot about water glasses until we asked after a long while, and they had to be reminded about my friends' juice order), but the staff are perfectly pleasant and friendly. Prices are a little on the above-average end, but still decent value considering the large servings. Good selection of imported tipples, the highlights being naturally the Hungarian pálinka and tokaji which are not so readily available in other restaurants.

Rating: A
Vegetarian Friendliness: 9/10
Price Range: $$

Budapest Restaurant & Palinka Bar
273 Glen Huntly Rd
Elsternwick VIC 3185

(Ph): 9530 0849
Budapest Restaurant and Palinka Bar on Urbanspoon

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