Ráday utca greets the average tourist with a chain of restaurants on both sides. Each claims to have the tastiest Hungarian dishes, the most pleasant atmosphere and the best prices. We wondered who is winning in such tight competition and has the best strategy to attract customers. Surprisingly perhaps, we settled on a restaurant casually hidden in the far-most corner and with the least advertising: we present the Soul Café and Restaurant.
Upon entering, the visitor is greeted by a big shiny golden table. The inscriptions are enlightening, in the truest sense of the word. “Mindennek ellen tudok állni csak a kísértésnek nem! – Oscar Wilde.” Translation: “I can resist everything except temptation.” Immediately, the visitor is made aware of what is being offered here: passion.
This emotion is what comes to mind when you glance at the wine card. Wines are sorted according to their origin, and you can easily browse between the different regions such as Balaton and Eger. Tamás Varga, the chef, finds it very important the wine card justifies the good reputation of Hungarian wines, according to which they are the best around.
In general, the Hungarian theme gets a lot of emphasis on the menu, without stretching too far from the traditional Hungarian kitchen, which is quite heavy, as opposed to the contemporary trend. “Many restaurants adopt their offer more and more to the preference of the tourists,” manager Beáta Tóth says. “For us it’s very important however that we preserve the image of an authentic bistro.”
Besides the wine card, the menu card is also characterised by the main motive of passion, since you can find small but unusual ingredients in each dish, which give them a special effect. It can be an aromatic orange sauce served with risotto and rockets, a shrimp-skewer wrapped in bacon or a rolled-up beef-tartar, served in a style similar to sushi, surrounded by garnishes organised by their colour; there is always something special about the colours, arrangement and taste.
This is a proven way to convince customers – since in addition to the tourists the restaurant is often visited by Hungarian regular guests as well. The clients perceive the combination of traditional dishes refined by exotic creations as modern. One of the especially tasty dishes is the pancake dessert, which is not rolled up as usual but served as a pyramid surrounded by fine chocolate sauce.
In Soul Café and Restaurant you will be convinced that passion comes to life when you change something and spice it up with something unusual. This is a nice statement in these times, when change and being different are being challenged.
Soul Café and Restaurant
Address: Ráday utca 11-13, District IX
Open: daily 12 noon-12 midnight
Appetisers: HUF 1,790-2,490
Hungarian dishes: HUF 1,390-5,890
Main dishes: HUF 2,890-5,890
Desserts and cheese: HUF 1,290-2,290