Would you go to a restaurant on your own? Although we are often an individualist society, most of us would still think it’s rather unpleasant to go out to eat without company. However, it does not have to be unpleasant. Babka, opened last May, uses a “big table” concept to make the restaurant a comfortable place for those people arriving solo as well. This is true to their motto: Together we are less lonely. However, this is not the only thing that makes Babka a gastronomic must-go.
Only a handful of streets in Budapest have a name with a reputation. Of course, Andrássy út is one and so are the Nagykörút and the restaurant street Ráday utca. However, in the past few years Pozsonyi út in the Újlipótváros quarter of Pest has also achieved prominence as a café and restaurant promenade.
The reason is not only the good location near the Danube bank and Margaret Island, which are frequented by strollers and people minding their business all year around, but also the many lovingly decorated restaurants. Mostly cafés have been shooting from the ground just like mushrooms in Pozsonyi út and the neighbouring streets. Earlier there were even some places to eat, but nothing that could keep up with the trendy city centre restaurants.
Restaurateur Attila Nemesvölgyi made it his mission to close this market niche. By opening Babka the quarter got not only a trendy new address for international “comfort food” and culinary specialties from the Near East, but also a kind of gastronomic meeting place.
Upcycling and big table stories
Besides the already mentioned big table, which is supposed to unite lonely restaurant visitors but is also ideal for larger groups, Babka mainly concentrates on creating a relaxed atmosphere. Nemesvölgyi and his team put a lot of time and love into decorating the place. Their trick: nothing really matches but still everything comes together in a harmonic whole.
The interior has colourful wall tiles, antique-looking armchairs, a whole lot of different looking tables, a wall full of radios from the last century and all kinds of knick-knacks that Nemesvölgyi and his companions found at flea markets, polished and put together for their needs – this is called “upcycling”, which is becoming more and more the trademark of “urban chic”.
However, it’s not only the cosy atmosphere that attracts many people to Babka. It also offers a wide range of events: from musical happenings in front of the radio wall to monthly gastro-offers called “Big Table Stories”, where they deliver knowledge about gastronomic topics along with tasting, for example rum tastings.
Have you ever heard of cocktail pairing?
As we already mentioned, the menu at Babka contains numerous specialties from the Near East, for example sabih, a traditional dish from Israel with baked aubergine, hard-boiled eggs, tahini and salad. Instead of pita, sabih is served on a thick slice of sour-dough bread at Babka.
Other dishes, such as the curry-hummus with spicy chicken, the goose-couscous, the tabbouleh, the mezze plates or the shakshuka – a dish of poached eggs and goat cheese in a piquant tomato sauce – should make the hearts of fans of Arabic and Jewish cuisine beat faster.
In addition to all this they offer Indian curry and typical Hungarian dishes such as the potato-noodles with crispy bacon, onions and tejföl (sour cream).
The specialties called cocotte, served in a special fireproof casserole, are especially easy on the eye. Although in Babka you will even find a carefully picked selection of Hungarian wines, the waiters will offer cocktails to accompany almost every dish.
This so-called food and cocktail pairing is a gastronomic trend that has hardly been introduced in Hungary yet. To convince Budapesters about the new concept, Nemesvölgyi brought one of the best bartenders in town into the house – Thiago Souza. The charming Brazilian guy knows very well how the spicy notes and aromas of the dishes on the menu combine with his cocktails so as to guarantee a harmonic taste experience that makes the taste of the dishes even more intensive. Souza is happy to come to the tables to give advice about the cocktail selection.
Of course there is also a selection on sweet delicacies to round off dining. Even the name Babka comes from one of these desserts: it is a Jewish yeast cake specialty prepared according to a recipe from Jerusalem that is similar to the French brioche. Babka is made of intertwined yeast-dough braids, and filled-on with treats such as candied pieces of orange and covered with a layer of chocolate.
First of all, Babka is a great place to meet friends, whether for a small bite in daytime, an extended several-course menu in the early evening or a few stylish cocktails before going to party. Even meeting new people is easy in here. The relaxed atmosphere and the – thanks to the numerous cocktails – relaxed mood of the restaurant and its team is transferred to the diners as well.
Thanks to the well-planned room concept, which can separate a part of the guest room with a curtain, Babka is also a good place for informal business meetings, workshops or the next teambuilding event.
District XIII, 3 Pozsonyi út
Monday to Wednesday
11.00 to midnight, Thursdays 11.00 to 01.00, Fridays and Sundays
08.00 to 01.00,
Sundays 08.00 to midnight
Diverse cold and warm
dishes: HUF 900 to 2400
Mezze: HUF 700 to 2600
Desserts: HUF 500 to 900
Drinks: HUF 400 to 1000
All cocktails HUF 1500