Some ideas are so obvious that you keep asking yourself, how can it be that no one ever thought of it before? The idea of Smúz is one of them: a café has to be beautiful… flowers are pretty… you find the most flowers in a flower shop… so why not combine a café and a flower shop?
Smúz at Kossuth Lajos tér really radiates beauty from every corner. Flowers are all around the place, and all of them are for sale. The blossoms are perfectly staged with items from Belgian designer Serax. These are on sale too.
The rest of the furniture is also Serax. Everything is bright, friendly, comfortable and beautiful. The furniture is intentionally designed in the style of garden furniture. “We want to blend the borderline between inside and outside,” Viktória Lugosi explains. “Of course you are inside but you feel a bit like you are outside. Just like in a garden.”
This is her café and obviously she is proud of it. The sun shines through the large windows stretching almost from floor to ceiling all day long, but even when the clouds appear the view is still spectacular: your eyes are pampered by Parliament’s majestic building and, over the Danube, Castle Hill with Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. Pretty as a postcard.
The work of two pioneers
Beauty is the central element in Smúz, since beauty makes you happy. “And I would like to make people happy,” Lugosi says. “What would I do with unhappy guests? When my guests are happy I am happy as well.”
She and her husband László opened Smúz about 18 months ago. Both are originally journalists, he a photographer and she a television reporter. They had operated a flower shop for 15 years as a second source of income. One day they got the idea: they could operate not only a flower shop but a flower shop-café.
In order to find the right style for their establishment, they travelled throughout Europe. They didn’t find anything of the kind anywhere, and only learned later that there had been such a combination in Berlin for a long time.
“Where else?” Viktória Lugosi laughs. Budapest and Berlin are similar in so many ways: both have large alternative scenes and are generally open-minded. They are cities for pioneers such as Viktória and László.
Even their earlier flower shop was not just an ordinary flower shop. Many times they were the first to import new kinds of plants that later became part of the standard offer. They also founded the first flower delivery service in Hungary: Viragneked (“Flowers for you”).
Ten years ago they had the idea that flowers could be paid simply with the monthly telephone bill. They approached Nokia but were turned away. Sure, it was a good idea but unfortunately it was not feasible. Today companies such as Apple (ApplePay) are investing billions in the technology of the future, “Mobile Payment”. “Our idea came simply too early,” Lugosi sighs. However, the idea of Smúz came just at the right moment.
Beauty makes you happy
When they got the chance to rent the room at Kossuth Lajos tér, they took the opportunity. The interior of Smúz is colourful, lively, apparently chaotic yet precisely planned. It’s beautiful! You can experience this with all your senses: the visitor smells the various scents of the blooms mixed with the aroma of fresh coffee. All the dishes are prepared with love – and with flowers of course.
The background music is selected carefully so that it does not disturb you if you are working. And the tastes are also carefully chosen. “You are how your last coffee was,” Lugosi says, and what she means is that the quality of our food significantly influences our well-being.
This is why each month the coffee beans are carefully selected again (since the crops are different each time, just as with wine) and they are prepared in a handmade La Marzocco imported from Florence. The beans are organically grown and the fresh juices are served without added sugar.
To keep up this standard, the menu is really transparent. Therefore pleasure should be guaranteed: the home-made cake is a delicacy and they offer new creations from time to time in addition to the fully recommendable classics, such as the chocolate cake and cheesecake.
They offer breakfast and light lunches, such as quiche, salads and sandwiches. The sandwiches are juicy and filling, the salads are crispy fresh and the olive oil in the dressing is the same kind they use in the kitchen of Buckingham Palace, a fact that is proudly displayed on the menu. The selection of wines is small but fine.
Beauty in all dimensions
There is another dimension present: culture. This is a kind of beauty that we perceive with our soul, Lugosi says. Smúz, she tells us, is a Jewish word meaning a place where people get together for conversation. Thus book presentations are organised regularly at Smúz and they have a book club. The club revolves around a different book each month and often the author is invited to talk.
The next book on the program is the rediscovered novel “Stoner” by John Williams from 1965, unfortunately only in Hungarian (for the moment). They are also planning to stage a small theatre piece, though this is under wraps at present.
And if you like, you can also count goodness as one of the beauties at Smúz. True beauty always has an ethical dimension, as Plato noted in ancient times. Smúz sells local products such as handmade scarfs, bags and “Matyó-design” shirts, which are all made in a village in eastern Hungary. Next to each piece is a photo of its maker. Also on offer are small notebooks from “hungaropedia” and homemade marmalade.
Whichever way: you will leave Smúz richer in some way, maybe even a little bit happier. Since beauty is simply good for you.
18 Kossuth Lajos tér, District V
Open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm,
Saturday and Sunday 10am to 8pm
Reservations: (+36) 30 922-0850
Breakfast: HUF 450-2550
Warm dishes, sandwiches and salads:
Desserts: HUF 890-2400
Coffee specialties: HUF 550-1700