Laci Konyha, Budapest
My last weekend saw me adventuring out to Budapest, Hungary. And that’s not a city I knew much about at all. But I landed back in London feeling like I saw a unique place that’s well worth visiting. And well worth raving about. My last meal on his weekend was a lunch at Laci Konyha!.
It started off with a bit of tension (inflicted), as I only had a solid hour slot before I had to navigate my way to the shuttle bus pickup point. Fortunately, I was able to have a speedy bite and get to the stop with plenty of time. Laci Konyha may have come up in some of my Tripadvisor research and that’s how I knew of it. The venue in northern Pest offers a boutique take on Hungarian cuisine. Dining in the thirteenth district of the city in this Bib Gourmand restaurant was a fitting end for a fantastic weekend abroad and I’m glad I did my best to squeeze it in.
It wasn’t busy on this late afternoon bite, the restaurant is located outside the usual city hubs which seemed to keep the crowd down. It’s work hunting out though, and you’ll be rewarded with a memorable experience. The interior of Laci Konyha gives off a ruin bar vibe, and you do feel as if you’re eating in a secret locals’ haunt. The daily menu is two courses at a set 2,500 ft with surcharges for some items. After watering down with a lemonade (these guys love it), I continued a trial of sweet.
My entree was the cold sour cherry soup with mozzarella. Sour cherry soup is a Hungarian favourite, and I noticed it on quite a few menus around town. This version comes with a dab of mozzarella, rather than the usual dob of sour cream. I liked the fruity, cool, liquid. It was more sweet than sour and initially slightly odd as a starter, but it was perfectly refreshing for this summer’s day. And that’s the point. Sour cherries are numerous in Hungary unlike back home and it features commonly. This classic mix also exemplifies Hungary’s quintessential fusion of Eastern influences and continental European cuisine. A true uniqueness in itself.
My main was the chicken (first image), as my first choice of the pork belly was unavailable (cue sadness). The chicken supreme comes with a wedge of cabbage, butter sauce and caraway. And it is a dish that reigns supreme. The chicken was fried, so there was a delicious crust, as long as you navigated it around the sauce. Tender, moist chicken. I haven’t had quite so good in quite a while. The buttery sauce delivered a pleasant creaminess that complemented the cabbage and the meat. And the cabbage has a nice grill, which adds an intriguing smokiness to the vegetable.
The final dish was a dessert: lavender mousse with sour cherry ice-cream. I wasn’t sure on the nature of the crunchy green garnish but this stuff is like crack. The lavender mousse is very delicate and in a way, overpowered by the sheer punchiness of the cherry. The texture of the mousse is also very airy, a bit more creaminess would have done it for me (unless it was sold in as a foam). I was still very happy with the dish, and the service along the way was also top notch. Best of all, I was in and out in about 40 minutes, which definitely helped with my final hour panic.
Update: I’ve read that Laci Konyha! may now be permanently closed. Which would be very sad news if true.