Ah Budapest… The River Danube, The Geothermal baths…. the Michelin starred restaurants? Yes. I said it.
Budapest has become so much more experimental than its famous Goulash and Paprikás (and other words with difficult pronunciation) and nowhere is that more evident than Costes Downtown.
This is the younger, trendier sister of renowned restaurant Costes. Both under the creation of executive chef Miguel Rocha Vieira and both have a michelin star.
Not to name drop, but Miguel was a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London, and a veteran of the kitchen at Spain’s celebrated El Bulli and has 3 Michelin stars under his name.
This one (Downtown) is under the direction of Portuguese Sous Chef Tiago Sabarigo.
We started with a couple of pretty fab cocktails. As anyone will tell you, I am a sucker for a fancy glass and even more so when the contents are delicious and especially when my gin is served in what can only be described as an upturned antique divers mask.
Normally, I don’t write about the bread… My theory is that usually, “Bread = Bore” but I make an exception when you team it with two types of salted and caramel “shredded” butter. What is that? Well my friends it is chilled and then shredded goat milk and Hungarian cows milk butter which is burned to get a caramelised flavour. Woof.
I happened to be with a Gluten free friend… (usually the dreaded panic of most un-prepped restaurants). However, the restaurant happily alters each dish to be gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and even paleo.
nb: If you tick all of these boxes, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your life choices.
As the pre starter, we had a Green pea purée with whole peas, fava bean mint snow and parmesan chips.
If you’re thinking that peas as a focus are rarely exciting, then you would be very pleasantly surprised with this.
One of their most popular and most aesthetically pleasing dishes is the Beetroot variation pickled with goats cheese, and grapes. (Your *Photo moment* is now).
I love a terrine, whats not to love? It’s pressed meat for Gods sake. They have a Goose liver terrine with rhubarb and ginger which is one of their favoured dishes.
Next we had the seared Duck with corn and smoked paprika. This was really good. The corn was creamed, pan seared and sprinkled and seriously delicious… I mean, as long as you like corn.
If duck is not your bag, then another popular dish is the Venison which is roasted with parsnip and red cabbage and is incredibly intricate.
Next up was the Turbot with Poached, Artichoke and Black Quinoa. The sauce was rich and decadent and the fish was perfectly cooked.
The dish that turned out to be the show stopper? The Pan Fried John Dory with Avocado, Smoked Mayo, sweet potato crisps and tiny baby mushrooms.
I love a white fish, but all too often what I actually like is the sauce, or the glaze (ok, or the booze). Sometimes the actual fish is so far from the sea it tastes like it has never even seen the sea let alone open waters. This was meaty with a proper punch to the flavour and the avocado mayo was perfect with it.
For dessert we had the chefs creation of Casis Meringue, white chocolate and sesame crumb.
Not often a fan of sharp berry desserts (they have the involuntary right-eye wince effect for me) this worked perfectly with the white chocolate and the sesame crumb. There was a hidden little white chocolate grecian pillar inside… (There is no grecian bias here)
Otherwise, another popular dish is the Baba au rhum with Strawberry and Vanilla Cream.
Recreating scenes is a pretty impressive theme here and for the showstopper of scenes, check out their Chocolate Dessert / Woodland scene. Yes, it is chocolate.
As our last treats, they brought lemon macaroons with basil filling, pineapple marshmallows, chocolate bon bons and orange jelly with glistening sugar.
Long gone are the days of Budapest’s only options being Goulash and kolbász. While I love a goulash, if you want fine dining, outstanding creations and a woodland made of chocolate, you MUST go to Costes Downtown.
Costes Downtown: H-1051 Budapest, Vigyázó Ferenc Street 5.