Szép Ilona Kisvendéglő, situated in the leafy suburb that is the second district of Budapest, has a lot to offer and if you’re willing to make the slight hike from the city centre it will certainly be worth it.
From outward appearances it has all the ingredients of something quite swanky and on entering the relative formality is abundant. The waiting staff are done up to the nines, well comparitively, and everything seems to have its place. But rather than let that become over-bearing a simple glance at the menu will afford you a chance to exhale again. While wines may push things up into the priceier range, for a restaurant, but not a kocsma, it can be assumed to be reasonable. Starters, mains and desserts all serve to leave you feeling loose, perhaps even venturing an after dinner digestif, or coffee, safe in the knowledge that there’s still enough money in the bank to afford a few pints, or what not, a little later on.
What was sampled:
An aubergine cream starter with a hint of ginger (perhaps only the minutest of hints or maybe just my palate is shot) seved with toast. A tasty beginning but could be enough for two unless you’re really really hungry.
A salmon salad with strips of salmon in breadcrumb with a smattering of the usual suspects, cucumber, tomato and yellow pepper. A mayonaise-ish sauce deemed quite watery by my companion, though such anonymity will probably get me hung later.
Quilted leg of venison with forest fruit sauce and potato donuts was how it was described on the menu and smothered is how I would have described it. Couldn’t see the food for the sauce spoiling any hope of tasting a simple mouthful unadorned, which was a shame because it was temptingly tender.
The desserts were without flaw, a chestnut purée with a kick of rum, and a somloi galushka, described as a Hungarian Sponge Cake (http://hungarianfoodrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/12/somloi-galuska-egyszeruen-hungarian.html), the twange of orange zest rendering any protests prior null and void.
The wine was a red, Imre Herceg Bora Kékfrankos, and I’ll leave that to the wine experts to consider. As the cheap choice it still wasn’t free and this accounts for my previous reference to the wine prices.
Overall a pleasant experience and accommodating waiters who did a professional job to the end. Even my smattering of Hungarian was taken on board with aplomb, a lesson some of the more touristy establishments downtown could do with learning. Nagyon szépen köszönöm