Night fell and after many a photo we descended Gellért Hill and walked North up the Danube towards the famous Hungarian Parliament – and it was more than impressive.
The glowing neo-Gothic building mirrored itself onto the still and serene Danube, rippled only sporadically when a tiny cruise boat crossed its reflection. Only being over 100 years old, the stunning architecture boasts both Renaissance and Baroque features, but it’s sharp peaks and tall thin windows undeniably neo-Gothic in style. Unfortunately, modern air pollution constantly attacks the porous limestone walls, so the building often requires frequent restoration.
Hungry, cold and having drunk too much water, we hurried to a famous Hungarian Bistro in Pest. Highly rated and with extremely affordable prices, this place is a must-visit to sample traditional, home-cooked Hungarian dishes. Upon entry, you almost feel as if you were in a friend’s home. The exceptionally friendly staff greet you upon entry and show you to your table, a waitress, who could very well be your best friend, tending to you throughout your time. And on the menu, you can find all the classic Hungarian dishes you can imagine that would frequent a Hungarian family’s dinner table; goulash, dumplings, paprikash – you name it. Before our ordered food arrived, came small sample of dishes to wet the palette; a large cuboid of homemade soft white bread, topped with sour cream and paprika. With it came a tiny dish of homemade chilli sauce – definitely not for the weak-hearted.
Quickly gobbled up, wanting more, our starters arrived; a plate of traditional dumplings was placed in the centre of the red and white checkered table cloth, speckled with sliced sausage and sour cabbage. The only downside to this dish was that we only had one small plate. If it were up to me, this would be on the main menu and ten times larger (and no it wasn’t that small, I’m just that greedy and crazy for food).
Haven’t having sampled traditional goulash yet, we already knew what our mains would entail. A large white shallow bowl arrived, filled with a rich red tomatoey broth that enveloped chunks of tender beef, potatoes and vegetables. Spiced wonderfully with paprika, the soup was comforting and filling, especially after being mopped up with several chunky slices of fresh white bread that were provided in a tiny wooden drawer – yes you read the right.
Last but not least was pudding to end the meal, of course; bellies already bursting, there was no chance we would miss a piece of traditional apple pie, served with a custard-like sauce. Sandwiched between two cake-like layers was a tangy and sweet shredded apple filling. Again, comforting and simply delicious. And if that all wasn’t enough, a complimentary shot of Palinka is offered before your departure – a traditional Hungarian spirit made from fruit. So if you’re in Budapest anytime in the near future, add Hungarikum Bistro to your list for a comforting family meal that’ll make you want to come back again and again.