Category Archives: Reviews

Tastes In Time

No breakfast at Tiffany’s

Below you will find a link to a review on Tiffany’s cafe which was located in the Batthyány tér market hall on the first floor. Be warned: the place no longer exists!!! This oft times can be the trouble with an ever-changing city. Consistency can suffer and while people may argue that the best will survive, in a town, like many others, where money matters, it’s not always a guarantee.

Still with the constant growth comes a re-energising, a certain state of vibrancy which allows a once well-travelled teacher to find a journey on the interior…

http://thehairyteacher.com/breakfast-or-not/

 

©TheHairyTeacher2013

Ah shur, tis Grand (The Grand Hostel)

Out of town but not out of town this private hostel sits on 2 major transport lines, the 61 tram, and the 29 bus. A ten minute walk, if you’re taking it easy, either side of these and you’ve got the 129 bus or the 5 bus. Apart from the 29 which takes you North to Óbuda and towards the Roman settlements, all others take you East or South towards the river, the castle, and the city centre.
A night bus passes by every hour and is accessible from a myriad of points throughout the city.
Beds are provided in dorms or private at prices which imply hostel, not gap year-Daddy’s wallet.
If on a brief visit then the city is your calling but if allowed a night or two to recuperate the hostel also provides its own entertainment with locals dropping in, and Peti the Proprietor is always willing to bang out a tune. Be warned: Peti’s got a good and varied taste in music which he may employ to keep you from your Zzzs. Your choice!;)

©TheHairyTeacher2013

http://www.grandhostel.hu/

Back for Seconds (Cafe 5 revisited)

Cafe Five, Kolossy tér, lunchtime.
A busy affair.
They mean business.
And these days even early evenings have their appeal.
Landing this side of town it’s definitely a recommendation.
Friendly staff, who speak English, and a bevy of buses, a tram line running by the window, and the urban railway (HÉV) a two minute walk away, makes this is not only comfortable but convenient.

 

(As for starters: http://thehairyteacher.com/cafe5/ )

©TheHairyTeacher2013

A Sporting Chance (Sports Bisztro)

If it’s sports you’re after then the Sports Bisztro on Pasaréti utca has something to offer, even if it’s just for the electronic darts or pool. On big game nights table booking is essential, a concept still alien to me when the onus is on me to make arrangements, but something most welcome on entering a crowded pub and having friends ask for the table which they’ve reserved. Moses couldn’t do any better!
A nice spot for social gatherings with seating both in and out and in case I’ve not mentioned it enough there’s also a screen outside to catch all the action as televised.
On a cold winter’s eve it’s a hideaway for a ‘warmer’ on the way home; in the summer it’s a place to sit outside and cool down over a fröccs. Other than that…
friendly staff who quickly adapt to your needs,
a selection of Belgian beers,
melegszendvics-es and other such snacking oddities, make up the change,
and whether it’s coming or going you are, transport is just around the corner.
I could mention the hospital’s proximity but this is not that type of place;)

©TheHairyTeacher2013

All About Atmosphere (The Budapest Jazz Club)

When I first arrived in Budapest the Budapest Jazz Club was situated on Múzeum utca in the popular university area which spans the 5th, 8th, maybe even 9th districts of the city. It was near that area where an Irish pub consisted of putting the word Irish before it and the streets had yet to be pedestrianised. Now that the area is looking good the Budapest Jazz Club has upped pegs and shifted residence to the 13th. It’s still up and coming Hollán Ernő street style but somehow this district, this part at least, and my favourite, is more becoming of Jazz Club mystic post smoking ban.
In the place where once the Odeon, an arthouse cinema stood, it has changed little albeit better music emanates from the speakers mid morning.
It still retains the arthouse feel and along with the other arthouse cinemas that have fallen foul of progress, or other conspiracy theories, imagination has been employed in order to maintain quality, at least the quality of difference.
With regular concerts and an early morning, 10am, opening this serves to be as much a library as a theatre. It’s a cool place to hang out, literally during the almost unbearable summer’s days and it serves to enhance the spirit for those more musically curious.
And for those who’ve just popped in for a coffee you are in a good neighbourhood for some good quick eats if things turn peckish.
Disfruta la!

©TheHairyTeacher2013

A Stout Performance

A Stout Performance

If in Cork and in need of a dose of craft beers then why not try the PorterHouse, Sheare’s Street. Set in the Mardyke complex a little off dead centre it’s still on the run in from UCC and other noteworthy sights to see. A selection of food bits plus more a hungry soul will not find oneself abandoned, and for all those of the thirst quenching persuasion, even if craft isn’t your style, this is still a pub with all and sundry behind the bar.

For further details: http://www.porterhousebrewco.com/bars-cork-sheares.php

©TheHairyTeacher2013

Mind the step

Mind the step

Down the steps running in off Trinity Street, Cambridge, lies The Vaults Bar and Restaurant. I was a little unnerved to begin with. Whereas cellar bars are a norm in Budapest, in England, much like Ireland, I imagine such places to revolve around pain, torture, or pehaps even deviant sexual pleasure. Being with Tara meant I wasn’t up for that sort of exploration.
As it offered a chef’s special, 2 courses for a tenner, I was game, and with Tara weighing in my arms I had grown disinterested in prowling for a better place.
A bar to the left, restaurant to the right, at the bottom of the stairs, I chose the former being as there were cosy chairs for my sleepy beauty.
Though she fought heroically in resisting fatigue it is only because she is sleeping now that I’m managing this.
Right. Starters were varied and I chose a potted crayfish with toasted bread. I say toasted bread rather than toast because the bread itself is worth a mention to the good. The crayfish, however, set in a ramikan much like a goose liver paté, fat congealed on top – the disappointment came in the heavy handed approach towards the pickle mixed in. This struck me as a dish made by someone who delighted in the idea of fish while not wholly liking the taste. A whiskey-coke drinker comes to mind.
The main was a goat cheese salad with strips of red peppers, sun-dried tomato, rocket salad and that curious brown sauce which is not quite YR nor chocolate but could pass for both at a distance. It won back points for both simplicity and taste. Goat cheese and sun-dried tommy-toes…the job!
Served on tap was a cider I didn’t try and a bitter, Eagle, which I did.
The service was professional, experienced, and within the realm of friendliness which, considering my initial douts/fears about the establishment down the steps, is a positive.
In summary, in the way of bar-restaurant tradition which has come to signify the turn of the new millenium, it slots in unobtrusively, but perhaps would never stand out, not in my own imagination at any rate*.
Whether or which, Tara is still out for the count and I’m considering another pint while feeling the pressure of a full bladder. But unlike the beer, Martin isn’t bitter!

©TheHairyTeacher2013

*http://www.thevaults.biz/

Inn for one or two

Inn for one or two

The Star Inn, Bridge Street, Bishops Stortford, claims hostelry back almost 400 years, and like a lot of this quaint town 9 minutes out of Stansted on the track to London, it is kitted out in the flavour of authenticity. Not that there is any need to doubt its credentials and yet I’m drawn to Trigger’s brush in Only Fools and Horses*. That said I have managed as is the norm to get a rickety table, indoors this time, and while there is a spacious beer garden, a tired child and an overdose of sun down by the paddling pool, have us nestling in a shadey recess: though in truth pressed up to the street facing window, and while Tara snoozes I have time to take in the people and the accents, not all of which are local.
Lunchtime deal of 1 meal for 6.95 but 2 of the same for 8 is hooking some. I for my part have been pressed to request strawberries from the barmaid, and while only for cocktails, she bends over backwards ( I wish;)) to supply us with a bowl.
Having done Cambridge last week I must say I’m much more impressed as, with child in tow, I can traverse the town in short distances. There is a paddling pool in the park, and a kickass playground all within a lazy stone-thrower’s toss away. How I’m going to tell Tara we can’t return to the playground when she awakes I’m still pondering but for now, here, a John Smith’s to hand, chatter hidden away from me, a bit of mellow music, and sunshine abounding, I am L’Homme Heureux! Essentiellement!

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1VNNbSYdt0 (forgive the editting!)

©TheHairyTeacher2013

Better than the sliced pan-ini (Cafe Panini)

Along the streets I struggled, a groginess lingering two days on from festivities in the Belgian beer department, though I suspect the dregs I downed later were really to blame. Me and sense*, certainly not the best of bedfellows after alcohol’s been imbibed.
I passed a cafe still in the making it’s sign chancing at irony I guessed: Sunshine Cafe read the sign on the outside above steps which led to the bowels of the earth. “Good luck there” I thought.
Finally, in a twist and turn rhythm which would have seemed patterned to anyone observing, which indeed it had been, I ended up quayside on the corner with Cafe Panini.
First impression: welcoming, and with panini specials on the weekly menu this certainly seemed up to its name. In fact everybody I spotted on entering was eating something freshly cooked to the point that when I ordered a coffee and croissant I felt a little like the one who’d just ordered the plastic flowers.
The coffee, long as is my style, lingered and certainly was good. The croissant, heavy on pastry, lacked, as many in Hungary do, the buttery edge I’d grown accostumed to in Paris, and Douglas, Co. Cork.
But for dippage it was perfect collecting coffee up between the layers, without too much crumbling to create a pastry caffeine sludge.
Yes, yes. My name is Martin and I am a dipper and have been for as long as I can remember. My clearest first memories are Maxwell House and Custard Creams, cheap granulated coffee and biscuits (cookies, keksz) just in case you were wondering!
So in a nutshell, a pleasant environment, and popular in that there seems to be a collection of colourful folk, artsy, studenty, but maybe the film buses across on the key may have something to do with this. I hope not. This place should always be like this, and when those ‘bledy’° buses move there’ll be a good view of the river across to Margit’s Island as well as her bridge.
My advice: come for a coffee and stay for a day.
*”Sense and I” is the grammatically correct usage!
° Bloody

 

http://www.cafepanini.hu/

©TheHairyTeacher2013

Dotty for Coffee (Pöttyös)

Dotty for Coffee (Pöttyös)

On the intersection of Medve and Vitéz down in the second district this a colourful little chappy. The name itself arranged haphazardly above the entrance does little to convey the professionalism but a lot to carry the mood. A small counter is neatly stuffed with pastries and sandwiches with other oddities surrounding. A stairway winds its way up into the humble darkness but though tempting a snug in the clutches of winter, summer, even if Irishy at the moment of writing, beckons to the outdoors. Like two sentries,  tables await left and right on exiting while a step out, under the shade of an impressive tree (name pending) which marks this corner distinctly, finds one in a cluster of more. Optimistic on those colder days, on any other day, or even wrapped up, the outside seating is the place to be. As the Norwegians say: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

©TheHairyTeacher2013

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