Fine regional dining from Hubert Hlatky-Schlichter at Babel Budapest
The venue is an ode to the craftsmanship and bountiful produce found within Hungary’s borders. At least three quarters of ingredients are from the country’s own larder, and the sleek and sophisticated interiors and accessories are almost entirely Hungarian-made. From Ajka Crystal glasses, to the fully Hungarian wine list boasting no less than 170 bottles, Babel Budapest is a place that shows respect for the country’s traditions.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the menu itself. “Our personal goal is to show the flavours and food of regional Hungarian cuisine, and that it’s not just paprika and pork,” explains Hlatky-Schlichter. It’s one that takes inspiration from the dishes of the former Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, paying homage to familiar classics, but interpreting them in the unique and contemporary Babel style.
A favourite dish of home cooks across the country, hearty krumplis tészta (Hungarian potato pasta), manifests into an almost unrecognisable version finished with a delicate hand. At Babel, the traditionally crudely chunky Jókai bean soup is translated into a refined version fit for the most discerning diner.
An a la carte and tasting menus are available - some paired with wine, cheese, or both - along with a degustation option for vegans. Once you’re in, expect to stay a while; Babel rarely turns its tables and the level of service and kitchen competence means you’ll be in no hurry to leave.
This meal was hosted as part of a commission for the Budapest Finest Magazine, where this article also appears.