Wines, Restaurants, Recipes

We selected a dozen wines that we enjoy tasting regularly; wines which we often take a bottle home of or show to our friends. Then, the idea of how great it would be to find matching recipes for them popped into our heads. We sought recipes that are fairly straightforward and can even be prepared in the garden in summer. 


The next step was to take the wines to 10 great restaurants for the chefs to taste them and subsequently work out what they would prepare to go with these wines. The idea was to use only a couple of ingredients for each recipe so that almost everyone can prepare every dish, wherever they are. Some of the dishes ended up being easier to prepare while others were more complicated, but the starting point was always salad. A couple of days later we hit the road and drove around the country to check out what they cooked to go with the different wines. While visiting the restaurants, we chatted and tasted the food alongside the wines – we know it may be hard work but someone’s got to do it – so we also took a bit of detour to Balatonhenye. We went to see György Vadász, who is someone they recommended to us at Neked főztem, which is Zánka’s first street food venue. “As you pass the pub in the village, on the left hand side, on the bank of the stream, there will be a sign saying ‘vegetables’,” we were told. Gyuri bácsi had just arrived back from the market in Köveskál where he sells organic vegetables and fruit every Saturday. We had hardly introduced ourselves as he got straight to the point: “We experiment with loads of vegetables. Just from potatoes, we have four to five kinds in the garden; the rarest and thus the most expensive is the purple potato, which is also the best to shred for crisps (potato chips). We grow three different types of lettuce: minutina (herba stella), romaine lettuce and regular lettuce. When these run out, the spinach and its close relative the chard, the rocket or the beetroot and its leaves come.” We learned a lot of interesting facts about these vegetables and also Gyuri bácsi’s salad dressing recipe to take home with us, which goes as follows: mix some fennel seeds with cumin, fresh dill, basil and thyme with cream or sour cream, add some garlic to it and finally salt and pepper. Then, with several kilos of fruit and vegetables, we left to continue tasting what one can make out of these vegetables to go with the wine. 


Bestia and Kreinbacher Sparkling Wine - With bestrami, goat cheese and beetroot salad >>>

Meat Boutique and Sauska C13 - Blackberry duck with salad >>>

Émile and Matua - With lettuce, radish, romesco and parmesan >>>

Monk’s and Etyek Rosé - With lamb sirloin, hippophae (sea buckthorn) and sweet potato purée, berry fruit and strawberry rocket salad >>>

Pántlika and the Heimann Kékfrankos - With the three-cheese hamburger >>>

The Pisztrángos and the Rezeda - With smoked trout and mint-avocado couscous salad >>>

Anyukám Mondta and Kikelet - With beetroot baked in salt, soured melon and burrata >>>

IKON and the Super Granum - With Tisza catfish fillet and colourful zucchini salad >>>

Neked Főztem and the Balaton - With catfish filled courgette flowers, grilled kapia pepper salsa and goat sour cream >>>

Code Zero and the Bohém - With pike-perch fillet and caper sauce, thyme grilled polenta and balsamic vinegar summer salad >>>

+1 // The Borsuli and the Loliense - Our colleagues’, Miklós Félix and Detti, Vietnamese salad >>>

Bestia and Kreinbacher Sparkling Wine

With bestrami, goat cheese and beetroot salad


The place

A new place near St. Stephen’s Bazilika where the most important principle is simplicity. They mainly prepare meat dishes, there are craft beers on tap and a few good wines as well. They can even offer sandwiches paired with traditional method sparkling wines. These include bestrami (similar to pastrami – smoked and steamed beef, cured in brine) but made from lamb, with salad. Coming up with the concept, the dish and the menu was the job of chef Attila Tóth and sous-chef László Moór.


Food to go with the wine

We grill buttered slices of rye bread over charcoal then spread mint seasoned sour cream over them. Next, we place grilled aubergine slices drizzled in garlic oil on the bread, then sprinkle them with grated cheese. We chop the lamb neck, hammer the slices slightly, turn the slices in a spice mixture and grill them over charcoal. It only differs from pastrami due to the fact that the meat is not smoked. In a Josper (a combination of a grill and an oven) we bark the meat, then slice the pieces after boiling and then reheat them in the Josper again – with the smoke of the charcoal replacing the smoking process. We heap the lamb into the bread. For the salad, we use the freshest of vegetables available, such as spinach leaves or rocket (arugula). We heat the beetroots whole in foil over the charcoal. After the beetroots soften, we cool and peel them, cut them into cubes then marinate them with honey-rose pepper balsamic vinegar. Then we crumble soft goat cheese on top, add fresh thyme and toasted walnuts. We then season with Maldon salt and pepper.



Meat Boutique and Sauska C13 - Blackberry duck with salad

Blackberry duck with salad


The place

True to its name, this is a meat loving restaurant on the Buda side of the Lánchíd (Chain Bridge). Duck plays an important role on the newly refreshed menu. For this occasion they came up with the recipe to accompany the light summer wine with subtly earthy flavours, along with forest fruits on both the nose and the palate. The chef is Richárd Darusa who has been cooking professionally for 21 years, although he only landed here recently and wants to renew the menu based entirely on his experiences gained while working in restaurants abroad and in Budapest.


Food to go with the wine

We clean the duck breast fillets thoroughly, cut the skin, season them with salt and pepper. We grill them on a griddle or any kind of garden grill for 10-12 minutes. For the salad, we wash the fresh lettuce leaves, then put them in a mixing bowl. For the dressing we blend the oil, balsamic vinegar, blackberry and honey together with a hand blender. We mix the dressing with the salad and serve it along with the grilled duck.



Émile and Matua

With lettuce, radish, romesco and parmesan


The place

The Gerbeaud in Buda. On the ground floor of the Rózsadomb villa they serve sweets, on the mezzanine level morning coffee or sparkling wine, in the restaurant there’s gourmet cuisine, and in the garden they have everything that feels great in the summer. The chef is Gergely Kövér, who worked in Spain and became inspired at a two Michelin star restaurant. He shapes the kitchen together with sous-chef Ferenc Jóvér. The open kitchen is the biggest hit as the guests can keep an eye on what’s being made and how it’s done.


Food to go with the wine

We mix together fresh lettuce leaves. For the romesco sauce we cook a tomato in the oven or on a grill until it shrivels a little. We fry the rosemary bread in oil with garlic slices, Turkish hazel and parsley. We cut a nyora pepper – a dried Spanish pepper that can sometimes be found in Mediterranean shops – in half and soak it in water, and when it softens we slice the meat from the skin. We mix everything with olive oil, cherry vinegar, salt and we blend it and the romesco is ready. We slice the black radish into thin slices, put the slices out on wax paper, sprinkle them with salt and olive oil, put them into a big vacuum sealed bag and boil it at 95˚C in a steam oven for five minutes. That’s how the radish carpaccio is made.

We mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a one-to-three ratio, add a bit of salt then mix it with the radish mixture. We clean the green onion, heat the mix for two minutes then cool it with icy water. Leaving the roots on we turn it around and fry it to crispy in hot oil. We scorch the green onion, splash it with the dressing just like we do for the mustard leaves, green mizuna lettuce, pea sprouts and beetroot leaves with which we garnish the dish. Finally, we sprinkle it with parmesan. 



Monk’s and Etyek Rosé

With lamb sirloin, hippophae (sea buckthorn) and sweet potato purée, berry fruit and strawberry rocket salad


The place

They opened three months ago in Pest, near Erzsébet-híd, even though they’d been preparing for it for four years. Fresh ingredients, a modern European bistro with a bit of a Hungarian take and classic bistro food. Chef Zoltán Kontra prepares the menu together with sous-chef Zoltán Tímár.


Food to go with the wine

We take the Irish or New Zealand lamb sirloin, sprinkle salt and pepper onto it, then put it into a preheated oven on 230 degrees for eight minutes. We let it rest for five minutes then we sprinkle it with the foam of hot butter for two minutes. We put the meat aside and after a couple of minutes we can slice it up. For the purée, we peel the sweet potatoes, cook them in salted water together with the dried hippophae (available in Mediterranean shops), then with the help of a hand blender we purée it until it goes creamy. Before serving, we heat it up in the pot and either scoop or spoon it out. We top them with berry fruits (blueberries, blackberries, redcurrants, strawberries), whatever we have at home and matches the wines. They all match the lamb perfectly. For the strawberry-rocket salad, we wash the rocket, cut the strawberry up into small cubes, and add a pinch of salt, a touch of freshly ground pepper, extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil and cherry vinegar to it. For the rosé froth, we blast the rosé with a simple milk froth maker and sprinkle the salad with this foam. We make a creamy sauce with the jus, the leftover fat of the lamb, by adding vegetable broth and butter to it. We sprinkle it on the lamb after serving. 



Pántlika and the Heimann Kékfrankos

With the three-cheese hamburger


The place

Two-style bistro in the Városliget: an American burger joint and a Hungarian place at the same time. The menu with the hamburgers was put together by the owner of the place, Viktor Papp, back when they weren’t fashionable. He is not a chef but he travels a lot and finds inspiration from all of his journeys from which new dishes make it onto the menu. Earlier he worked for a multinational company, then one day, he closed his laptop and came out to the Városliget to check if the building that was built for the 1963 Budapest International Fair was on sale. A year later, he bought it and has been developing it ever since. The idea for hamburgers came after a journey to New Zealand where people were queuing up for hamburgers and during that time there was no such thing here.


Food to go with the wine

Cheese goes well with wine; hence the cheese selection (cheddar, mozzarella, feta) plus this light red can easily be paired with beef served with steak potatoes. We cook the potatoes with the skins on, then fry them in a bit of butter and thyme to make them crispy. We pour homemade sour cream with green herbs onto it. For the burger patties, we put beef, beef kidney tallow (this makes it juicy) and a secret mix of spices (pepper, coriander, mustard seed, and so on). We melt the cheddar on top of the meat while still on the grill. We spread the thyme butter on top of the batch and toast it on a griddle. We add the tomato, lettuce, rocket and onion. The sauce on top is from a Pántlika recipe (instead of ketchup), while at the bottom we use aioli (garlic and olive oil mayonnaise).



The Pisztrángos and the Rezeda

With smoked trout and mint-avocado couscous salad


The place

They opened in Dunabogdány in 2007, back then with six different takes on trout. Now they have 15 but what is even more important is that they are always fresh. On top of that, they even cut the lettuce freshly every hour. Only homemade, natural ingredients, 30 different types of cordial and 60 different pálinkas. The smaller amount of trout comes from Italy, the greater part from a fish farm on the Hortobágy. Ferenc Klément, the owner, learnt to cook from his mum and he taught the current chefs: Noémi and András.


Food to go with the wine

One should get the smoked trout already prepared, such as from the Kléments, because the smoking process is pretty time-consuming. We add lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, mint and pomegranate to the couscous, and serve it along with the trout. 



Anyukám Mondta and Kikelet

With beetroot baked in salt, soured melon and burrata


The place

Szabolcs and Szilárd Dudás opened a little place in Encs 20 years ago which was then called the Sarok Presszó. Then from the starting point of a Saturday party venue, it became a pizzeria and eventually precisely because of wine they had to change the name. István Szepsy Jnr. wanted to make their own Furmint but Pizza Sarok (Pizza corner) wouldn’t have looked good on the label. That’s when Anyukám mondta (My mother said) came about. The kitchen is Hungarian and Italian. The larger part of the ingredients come from Italy but they only import if they can’t find good quality locally. The plan was hatched when they worked in a pizzeria in a small Italian town for years. In this restaurant everybody is from Encs and around. Szabolcs still cooks every day and Szilárd helps the waiters. The wines are all from Tokaj and the aims are serious: they would like it if more and more people in the locality learnt to prepare quality products. Why in Encs? Because everything connects them to here.


Food to go with the wine

We slice up the beetroot and we marinate it in a mixture of oil, vinegar and honey. The rest of the beetroot and carrots we put into foil, sprinkle them with salt then wrap them up. We put them into the oven preheated to 200 degrees then bake them for 10 minutes. We let them cool down, then cut them up. With a kohlrabi cutter we spoon out balls from the melon and sprinkle them with verjus, which is the juice from unripe grapes. We roast the peanuts in the oven, mix the oil and the vinegar then add the peanuts. We serve it with rocket, Swiss chard, raddish and burrata. 



IKON and the Super Granum

With Tisza catfish fillet and colourful zucchini salad


The place

The restaurant on Piac utca in Debrecen opened three years ago, while the story began a bit earlier. Most precisely the idea was hatched when chef Péter Pataky was sailing with two friends of his and on a great night, they started coming up with ideas for a restaurant. When they continued the next day, Peter was positive that something might come out of it. They started with a daring menu which the customers didn’t appreciate too much. By today the dishes are more subtle, the basics of the kitchen are quality ingredients and simplicity. From the experiences not just new dishes but also a new bistro has come to life in the next street. The wines are recommended by Béla Vállai for the food and as he tasted the Super Granum he immediately came up with an alternative for those who wouldn’t want to fry fish.


Food to go with the wine

We soak the catfish fillets in a marinade consisting of two litres of water and 120 grams of salt for two hours. After that we rinse them, dry them and with a paper towel around them, put them into the fridge. From the colourful courgettes (zucchinis), we cut ribbons with a peeler and put them into a marinade consisting of vinegar, sugar, water and salt for an hour. We cut the rest of the courgettes into different shapes. We marinate them with extra virgin olive oil, a touch of lemon, salt and pepper, then we grill them. For the sauce, we reduce the wine with the spices and the onion until it goes down to two spoonfuls, then we add the ice cold butter cut into cubes to it. We constantly stir it with a whisker, without boiling it we keep it warm until serving. We fry one side of the fish in a hot pan until it goes red, then throw some butter on it and splashing it, we finish it off. The whole thing shouldn’t take longer than 3 to 4 minutes in order to avoid overcooking it. We serve the fish with the different courgettes and the butter sauce.



Neked Főztem and the Balaton

With catfish filled courgette flowers, grilled kapia pepper salsa and goat sour cream


The place

Csongor and Orsi Horváth opened their “beach food” place in May at the entrance of the Zánka strand. They come up with the menu together then make the recipes simple enough for them to be able to make them in the small booth next to the strand, but they always make a slight twist in them. There are always five to six dishes on the board on the wall and if one runs out a new comes into its place with the only constant being the mangalica burger. The ingredients are solely local: the bakery comes from Nagyvázsony, the vegetables and fruit from Balatonhenye and the fruit cordial from Kapolcs.


Food to go with the wine

For the catfish filling, we cut the catfish up into small cubes, season them with salt, pepper, parsley, dill and garlic. Then we stuff them into the courgette flowers, dip everything into pancake dough and fry in oil. For the salsa, we bake the capia peppers in the oven until they go slightly black. We peel them and cut them into small cubes the same way as the tomatoes and the green onion. We season them with lemon juice, olive oil and green herbs (like coriander). We serve it with fresh lettuce and sour goat cream with dill.



Code Zero és a Bohém

Fogasfilével, kaprimártással, kakukkfüves grillezett polentával, balzsamecetes nyári zöldsalátával


A hely

Csopak, hús és grill. Két Big Green Eggben készülnek az ételek. Főleg húsok, mert Komonyi János séf nemcsak feldolgozni, hanem megsütni is imádja őket. Budapesti éttermekben tanulta a szakmát, tavaly már vele indult a bisztró, most pedig a Code Zero Budapestre, a Kecskeméti utcába is beköltözik, egy kicsit emeltebb konyhával, és Josper grillel (grillsütő és kemence kombinációja). Persze a csopaki kikötőben, fél lábbal a Balatonban kóstolva a húsokat, nem vágyunk máshova.


Étel a bor mellé

A fogashoz só-cukor oldatot készítünk (50 g cukor, 60 g só, 2 l víz). Hagyjuk kihűlni, és belerakjuk a fogasfiléket 30 percig, majd óvatosan leitatjuk róla a vizet. A filét csak a bőrén sütjük addig, amíg szép barna és ropogós nem lesz. Mikor megsült, átfordítjuk a húsos oldalára. A citromot karikákra vágjuk, habzásig hevített sótlan vajban mindkét oldalát aranybarnára pirítjuk. Kivesszük a serpenyőből, és a maradék vajon finomra vágott kapribogyót pirítunk. Mellé dobunk egy ág kakukkfüvet, és mikor a kapri megpirult, tejszínt öntünk rá és mártás sűrűségűre forraljuk. A polentához egy lábasban vizet forralunk, sóval, borssal és kakukkfűvel. Mikor felforrt, lassan adagolva öntjük hozzá a kukoricadarát, és közben habverővel keverjük. Kis fokozaton 2 órán keresztül főzzük néha megkeverve, amíg teljesen elfő róla a víz. Amint megfőtt, hozzáadjuk a kockára vágott hideg vajat, és addig kevergetjük, amíg teljesen fel nem oldódik a vaj. Mikor kész, formába öntjük, és hűtőben kihűtjük. Miután kihűlt, feladagoljuk, kockára vágott baconnal serpenyőben megsütjük. A salátadresszinghez barnacukrot karamellizálunk, hozzáöntjük a narancslevet, a limelevet és a balzsamecetet. Ezt addig főzzük, míg a cukor teljesen fel nem oldódik. Ezt kihűtjük, majd az extra szűz olívaolajjal egyneműre keverjük.

Ezután öntjük a salátalevelekre. Tálaláskor a halat bőrével fölfelé tálaljuk, és alá öntjük a mártást, hogy a ropogósra sült bőre ne puhuljon vissza. Mellé tálaljuk a sült citromot, a grillezett polentát és a salátát. 



+1 // The Borsuli and the Loliense

- Our colleagues’, Miklós Félix and Detti, Vietnamese salad


The place

We’ve been tasting at the Borsuli, on the top floor of the Kossuth tér wine shop. It was a long-held desire to meet, to share our experiences and talk about wine, wine regions and winemakers. On those nights we taste continuously, we talk about several subjects thoroughly and give knowledge that can be used in every day life as well. About two and a half hours with a maximum of 20 people and between six to seven wines. Beside the five standard topics (red, white, rosé and sparkling ABC and “That’s how we drink”), we always prepare fresh hot topics. Among those, the latest is called “Wines for flavours” in which we taste the wines together with food to see what food matches which wine and why.  


Food to go with the wine

We mix the lettuce leaves and the shredded carrots with baby radish and pomegranate. We slice up the cucumber and sprinkle the juice of one lime on the vegetables then stir well. We mix the ingredients of the sauce (soy sauce, plum sauce, sesame oil, rose water, garlic and lime) with the chilli chips and the finely chopped ginger, coriander and mint. We add it to the salad. We make pancake dough, add the green onion and cumin and we prepare them. We roll up the cooled down pancakes, cut them up into thin slices and add the slices to the vegetables. We rest the mixed salad for an hour in the fridge and then it’s ready to eat. We tasted the 2014 Fehér Loliense with this version. An alternative version of the salad works for other wine – with steak instead of the pancake. We season the steak with salt and pepper and fry the steak in a hot pan in a bit of oil for three minutes. We put it aside on a plate to let it rest for 20 minutes then cut it up into thick slices. We add a few dried blueberries to the salad and serve it with the steak.