Pest-Buda Vendéglő

Fortuna utca 3 [map]
Buda, I, Disz tér (B10/110), 2 min
Tel. 212 5880

Rating: 5.8/10

I rarely consider the Vár (the Castle District) as a destination for anything other than wandering around. Why? Because it's the safe bit of Budapest - it's kind of obvious what you're going to get: pretty Budapest on a plate. A relatively expensive plate. However, there are quite a few restaurants up there, so I thought I'd mingle with the middle-aged tourist crowd for one night only.

Pest-Buda Vendéglő is indeed pretty. We peered in through the window before going in and it looked pleasantly traditional. The sound of the gypsy violin was nice enough too. My sister was in town and, handing in our coats at the reception, it felt a notch above what I was used to. A small but intriguing menu was also priced a notch higher than usual.

Pondering the menu, however, was not straightforward. Why? Because of the Russians on the next table over. The violinist had moved away from his pianist and began to serenade them, something that they clearly weren't too keen on. Hmmm, the rabbit looks quite nice; (in reality it's tasty but a little dry.) The violinist persists. Chicken with strawberries sounds interesting; (in reality the strawberries are jellied and not so interesting.) Oh, I see, he's going to bother them until they tip him. But the Russians are not for turning.

And so, as we ate our starters, we awaited the inevitable. The soup-du-jour was a nice but fairly standard potato soup, while my sister's breadcrumbed pancake filled with pate was twice as expensive but tasty, and in fact, a little too filling. The violinist emerged from over my sister's shoulder. At least he wasn't playing Danny Boy any more - that famed gypsy-folk ballad. We sat uncomfortably amused, thinking "How much to get rid of him for good?" 1000Ft proved to be enough but the rest of the meal was spent contemplating it. The final challenge lay in paying the actual bill: no credit cards accepted.

In retrospect, the whole soap opera was mildly entertaining and the food wasn't bad but I would prefer to decide which 'entertainment' I pay for rather than having it thrust upon me. My suspicion that the Vár isn't the most likely to produce any real gems is now that bit stronger, and I'll be sticking to the more down-to-earth Budapest for the foreseeable future.

Food: 8/10
Service: 5/10
Atmosphere: 5/10

Value for money: 5/10
Andy Sz.



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