Tucked in behind Budapest’s Broadway in District VI, the Caledonia Scottish Pub is a hidden slice of the Highlands offering a selection of fine whiskies, Scottish food and a friendly pub atmosphere.
Unless you’re brand-new in town or live on the moon, the chances are you will have heard of the Caledonia, which has become an institution in itself in the English-speaking expat scene as the place to meet and hang out with both expats and Hungarians in a friendly atmosphere.
However, since the renovations of the kitchen at the Caledonia are finally over, it’s time to see what Budapest’s Scottish Pub has on offer in the culinary department.
The main attraction of the Caledonia is that it embraces the homely pub feel that you’ll find all over Scotland and the rest of the British Isles. It’s a place to hang out with your friends to watch the rugby on the weekend or the go-to destination for a breakfast to help you to recover from the night before.
The Caledonia’s menu might appear to be made up of the usual pub favourites with a twist but it’s comfort food at its finest, embracing the best ingredients and extremely tasty to boot.
The list of specials, which rotates on a fortnightly basis, is one to keep an eye on. This week the Caledonia offered a selection of Scottish specialties like Potato Pancake with Horseradish Cream and Haggis, and Neeps and Tatties with Mushroom and Whisky Cream Sauce, the latter being so good, apparently, that the Caledonia had unfortunately sold out by the time The Budapest Times arrived.
But other popular dishes are available on the menu all year round, like the Full Scottish Breakfast, ideal for soothing over the indulgences of a heavy night before, complete with fried egg, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans and essentially the full breakfast works. For an extra Highland fling, get it with an additional portion of haggis.
Carnivores are sure to lap up the grill selection and the numerous homemade burgers. Vegetarians can go for the Dill Flavoured Potato Pancake with Tomato Salsa and Horseradish Mousse.
The Caledonia has a selection of tasty burgers and The Budapest Times went for the Edinburger, a popular dish with the Caledonia’s current clientele.
On first impressions, the burger is nice and simple, served up with a side serving of crispy yet fluffy on the inside chips (fries) and crunchy coleslaw. The Edinburger is a simple affair, combining top-quality juicy meat with cheese and an egg, all closed up in a crusty bun.
The dessert special was an Apple Crumble, with Cinnamon Spiced Apple, Vanilla Ice-cream and Butter Crumble. The first thing you note about this is the aroma of cinnamon and apple as soon as it hits the table. The crumble is beautifully presented, making you forget it’s comfort food, not overly sweetened, and manages to capture a range of interesting textures that complement each other.
The menu is classic pub food with a focus on Scottish cuisine, where everything comes made up with high-quality ingredients. It might not be the kind of restaurant for a romantic candlelit dinner but it’s ideal to share with friends, watch the football or rugby, or simply have a great night out.
The Caledonia is that kind of restaurant where you meet new friends. Its staff is friendly, the clientele is a mix of expats and local Hungarians who all seem to know each other, and if you come out for some dining on Thursday nights when they’re running the quiz night, you’ll get your entertainment’s worth with your food.
To sum up, the Caledonia is Budapest’s own friendly local, one where you’ll never feel alone and the food is comforting and tasty – where you can find a small corner of Scotland in the heart of the city.
Address: Mozsár Utca 9,
Tel.: (+36-1) 311-7611
Kitchen opening times: Sun.-Wed.: 2-10pm, Thurs.-Sat.: 2-10.30pm
Soups and salads: HUF 690-1,950
Mains: HUF 1,750-4,500
Dessert: HUF 950
Beers: HUF 350-1,100
Whiskies: HUF 700-3,900 per 4 centilitres