One of the greatest pleasures of living in Budapest is the sense of discovery when I find a new place to eat – one that warrants talking about. When meeting the illustrious BA for lunch on the eve of his collecting yet another award for one of his translations (this time extracts from The Hangman’s House by Andrea Tompa), I agreed to try Bohémtanyaon Paulay Ede utca. I’d never been there before, but by all accounts this 37-year-old restaurant has its share of devotees in the city.
Arriving promptly at noon, we had our choice of tables. Choosing a main course was a little more difficult as the menu is quite expansive. Not so much so that I began to question the quality of the food on offer, but detailed enough for me to read, and read again, and again, each time narrowing down my choices. I’m a sucker for house specialities, figuring that if someone is going to put their name to a dish, it has to be good so I opted for the Bohémtanya borzas finomsága hasábburgonyával which translates into chicken breast baked in a spicy grated potato-pasta with fried garlic, cream and cheese. I plumped for the house white – a 2010 Villányi Rizling – which was very palatable and a lovely companion for what truly was an excellent meal.
Since arriving in Budapest nearly five years ago, I’ve been in search of the perfect Cosmopolitan and have been so unsuccessful that I’ve resigned myself to making my own. Not so with the traditional Somlói galuska – something that is quite beyond my culinary expertise. I’m always on the lookout for one that’s better than what I’ve had before. While not the absolute best I’ve ever had, Bohémtanya’s was quite respectable indeed, garnering 8/10 on the Murphy scale, and was perfectly accompanied by a glass of Tokaji Szamorodni – a rather lovely dessert wine.
The service was friendly; the food was excellent; and the conversation wasn’t half bad either. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Looking out the window at the more popular restaurants on the other side of the street, I felt a little sorry for those diners and what they were missing. The Bohémtanya might look a little like an old-fashioned rustic tourist trap, with its traditional chequered tablecloths and stout wooden furniture, but believe me, it’s kitchen has mastered traditional Hungarian cuisine and it is certainly good value for your forint. I can see this place becoming a personal favourite.
1061 Budapest, Paulay Ede utca 6 / open 12-24 every day