Next meal of note… lunch on Thursday. We were still stuffed after the grand buffet, so stopped for a bite at Gerbeaud (a Budapest open-air art deco café since the 1850s). Our meal was not significant in terms of quantity—we both had salads (ah, nice to be in Europe where it is completely safe to eat greens ); a new friend had a beautifully constructed smoked salmon tower on an exquisite split mini-loaf of multi-grain bread. But the dessert (ordered by one of us in our family—guess who) was the piece de resistance. Ordered to satisfy an urge for one scoop of vanilla with hot fudge—it was four scoops with not only hot fudge but spectacularly designed whipped cream, sponge cake and two chocolate cigars. Self-restraint was not really in the cards.
We had vowed there would be no dinner. But, alas, that was not to be. We headed over to Dio (which means “nuts” in Hungarian, which we were to eat another meal, but we went anyway). Fantastic! We did decide to limit ourselves to two courses, not including the delicious bread of course, with butter so creamy and delectable you could eat it with a spoon (after smearing it on your hips). Wendy chose the breast of duck with Tokai wine and date barley risotto—the duck was superbly succulent and perfectly sliced and arrayed across the risotto.
It was accompanied by a plate of beautifully grilled vegetables which we had requested. (We originally asked for cabbage but the chef informed us it wouldn’t be appropriate—in other words it would “compromise the integrity of the dish.”) Wayne ordered the paprikash veal stew with egg noodles (because you can never have enough goulash in Hungary!). It was delectable but the translation of “noodles” wasn’t quite right as this was more like a puffed egg soufflé then noodles per se.
We ended the meal with chocolate strudel served with blackberry mousse and cappuccino. (By the way, the cappuccino/coffee course is served separately. As our guide informed us, once you have a table for dinner, it is yours for the evening. The coffee course enables you to stretch that out and is generally accompanied by additional sweets.)
OK, moving to the mains. Wayne chose tenderloin of beef with ravioli stuffed with confit shoulder of beef serve with goulash jus. This was, by far, the best steak either of us had ever eaten. Upon inquiring whether it was from Hungarian beef, we were told “no, it’s from the United States.” LOL, it was great.
Wendy had sole with lemon mousseline, carrot textures (this is directly from the menu, folks), pistachios, and clam sauce. The carrot textures component was a swath of pureed carrot with different shapes and presentations. It looked like a little carrot town! The combination was light and extraordinary.
Palate cleanser next—elderflower granite with essence of grapefruit foam. Doesn’t everyone?
Wendy chose a 21st century take on the classic Somlo sponge cake—a beautiful brandy snifter with layers of dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate cookie, and whipped cream.