Émile Gerbeaud would nod in satisfaction if he could see what sort of success is associated with his name today. The beautiful café named after the famous French-Swiss pastry chef is still one of the main attractions on Vörösmarty tér but that’s not all. The Onyx, another member of the Gerbeaud family, is one of the noblest fine-dining addresses in Pest. Now the gastro family has made the jump to Buda too with Émile,
set up in a luxury villa in District II.
The Gerbeaud family had been dreaming of opening a restaurant in Buda for a long time, as Anna Niszkács, the operational and marketing director of Gerbeaud and Émile’s owner, says. Even though business is booming both in the Gerbeaud cake shop and Onyx, which is also near Vörösmarty tér, the prominent addresses attract primarily tourists. “We want to prove to the citizens of Budapest that we can offer the highest quality also outside the touristic sector,” Niszkács says. They have just succeeded with that via Émile, opened only recently.
Culinary pleasures from the basement to the roof
The villa at 1 Orló utca was chosen as the address for this business at the end of 2013. Built in 1928, it needed some renovation, which resulted in an elegant but fashionably eccentric ambience in the interiors. Every floor has a different thematic design.
While the ground floor, which is dedicated to dining, is characterised by a fresh modern interior design and an open kitchen helps in creating an appetite for the upcoming meal, the first floor attracts with a more leisurely atmosphere. You can feel the lingering spirit of intellectual tea-rooms at the end of the 19th century – the wing chairs and antique dressers provide the perfect backdrop for a lively breakfast or brunch with some good friends.
In the evening the first floor converts into a luxurious bar with lounge atmosphere. The second floor offers separate rooms for reservation to organise business events and business meals. Even the basement that you can see through the glass floor around the entry area of the villa is a real eye-catcher: they store here the more than 130 kinds of wine that are served in Émile.
The absolute unique selling point of the establishment however is the spacious and tastefully designed garden. You can enjoy the greenery and the sun in cosy cabanas, accompanied by a cool drink or a coffee with cake. Another special offer is the invigorating house lemonade with passionfruit and refreshing cucumber slices.
At the entrance of the garden you are greeted by the logo showing a stout knight, which was originally drawn by Émile Gerbeaud personally. According to Niszkács, they decided on the name Émile, referring to the founder of the family business, because unlike the family name, this does not immediately evoke associations of Somlói dumplings or Dobos cake. Of course Émile also offers the fine cakes and pastries that made the Gerbeaud cake shop so famous. They can be enjoyed on the spot or ordered for takeaway.
Surprising specialty of the house
The real focus of the gastro villa is on the fine-dining menu in bistro-style, however. They offer a small but fine range of dishes for lunch and dinner. The noble creations of chef Gergely Kövér are worth a try, not so much due to the What, much more due to the How.
The serving of the dishes is especially interesting. One example is the specialty of the kitchen, the paprika chicken. For people who know the Hungarian cuisine this may sound somewhat boring, however in Émile they have reinvented this classic dish. The individual ingredients, which are usually served together, are presented in separate small earthen bowls, followed by a dinner plate with a special treat: a whole cock’s comb.
Many people think of these soft, mostly soured meat pieces as a special delicacy; still, it can be found in only a few kitchens. For food lovers this is a compelling argument to visit Émile. In addition, the culinary promise of the restaurant is underlined by appetisers such as foie de gras served with rhubarb, walnuts and brioches.
As Niszkács reveals, Émile has great plans. The current offer will be amended with a lunch menu, which is expected to offer three courses for HUF 4500. The dining area will spread to the garden of the gastro villa: previously they have only been serving drinks, cakes and small snacks here.
Émile is investing in a family-friendly atmosphere, such as a separate breastfeeding and changing room on the second floor. The planned playground in the garden will ensure that the small and big guests of Émile will be pampered all according to their needs.
Orló utca 1, District II
Open: Tuesday to Friday 8am-11pm,
Saturday and Sunday 9am-11pm
Reservations: (+36) 30 585-0602
Breakfast: HUF 900 to 2,900
Snacks at the bar: HUF 400 to 2,400
Appetisers: HUF 1,500 to 3,900
Main dishes: HUF 3,200 to 5,900
Desserts: HUF 1,200 to 1,500