Budapest ended up being an amazing food city. Much better than I expected. Klassz Bistro and Bock quickly became two of my favorites. Baraka Etterem has potential. In fact, when Antonio and I sat there for lunch we kept mentioning how we felt they were working towards a Michelin star; but truth is the high prices they charge do not have a direct correlation with the food. With a couple of tweaks, I would have felt comfortable paying said prices. Here is the good, the not so great and why I think this place has potential.
The setting is lovely, on gorgeous Andrassy Street a wide street filled with gorgeous homes. The restaurants is impeccable inside and out and the design is quite beautiful.
We arrived without a reservation and were promptly seated. A very polite young man sat us down. The service at the restaurant was quite good; a refreshing surprise for Budapest where we found service to be lacking. Service here was quite nice. Our server was very well versed in wine and suggested a lovely Hungarian rose. This I was very satisfied with.
It was quite a windy day and our outdoor table was dressed in a white table cloth. There were no pins on the table cloth so it kept flying up and threatening to spill our wine glasses. This we resolved with our camera; but should not have been an issue to begin with.
The meal started with a chive laced butter. Nicely presented, flavorful and accompanied by some delicious bread. The meal was starting to look up.
The first course was based on asparagus (1900 Ft/10 USD). This was a fantastic dish and brought my expectations way up. The dish consisted of an asparagus veloute with a morrel and asparagus waffle. The soup was nicely prepared; not memorable, but good. The waffle was out of this world. Umamin from the truffles, crunch and texture from the waffle. Suddenly I was longing for a savory waffle restaurant to open up in NYC so I could delight in dishes like this every day.
It went downhill with my main course. I had ordered the osso bucco (5700 Ft/30 USD). It came with some lovely gnocchi, this was another win. It gave just enough resistance to the teeth and then kindly yielded to its destiny. The osso bucco was just ok. Since this was the protagonist of the dish I was expecting much better. The marrow was replaced with gremolata bone marrow. This was a disappointment. It tastes like a cream and none of the delicious marrow that should just be left alone.
We also ordered the free range chicken breast with an herb sponge (3900 ft/20 USD). Nothing special, fine; but nothing special.
I think the biggest issue with eating at this establishment is that we had such high expectations. Gorgeous setting, great service, and high prices ($30 USD may be normal in NYC, but in Budapest; it’s quite an expensive entree). On top of that; the asparagus dish was incredible, setting the bar for the rest of the meal which just did not reach the same level.
The chef has talent; perhaps we ordered the wrong dishes on the menu. I think with a bit of re-working of a few dishes this can be a great place. But this experience for me was not what I expected.
The restaurant does a 3500 Ft/18 USD 2 course lunch menu during weekdays. Perhaps this would be a great way for you to experiment the restaurant. I think you may be in for a better experience than ours.
Baraka Restaurant is located at Andrassy Utka, 111 in the Pest side of Budapest.