You don't have to travel across the globe to enjoy authentic Hungarian fare in Budapest.
A cosy little restaurant in Elsternwick serving flavoursome Hungarian dishes, Budapest is all about the experience. With the head chef being from the city of Budapest, the food is authentically Hungarian. On the first Tuesday of each month, they host Gypsy minstrels playing a variety of European music.
Their twelve page menu boasts plenty of variety, including vegetarian and gluten free options. For something new, I headed straight for the stuffed schnitzels. A chicken or veal schnitzel is made so much more exciting by filling it with tasty cheese, smoked sausage, sautéed mushroom or whatever else from their extensive options takes your fancy. The filling gives the schnitzel that extra bite of flavour, which you definitely need with a serving that large. The stuffed schnitzel was perfect, eclipsing my expectations.
The stuffed schnitzels from Budapest restaurant tasted even better than they look.
Most of the mains, stuffed schnitzels included, come with two side dishes. The sides are mainly comfort food, such as Hungarian potatoes or nokedli (miniature pasta dumplings). If you order nokedli, make sure to request a sauce. I made the mistake of asking for them to be served plainly without a sauce, and found them to be lacking in flavour.
Budapest boasts a bar with a wide selection of exotic and local wine and beer. The only palinka bar in Melbourne, they specialise in Hungarian fruit brandy.
The restaurant itself has great atmosphere in the evening, with warm lighting and modern décor. Outdoor seating is available as well as indoor, but for the best of both worlds you can seat near the front of the restaurant next to the nearly floor-to-ceiling window. The service was fantastic, with the waitress happy to explain menu items and help you decide.
As far as cost goes, Budapest is on the pricey side with a main meal typically at $30 and entrées around $15. However, it is worth it as they have the winning combination of satisfying and delicious food with excellent service.