The rejuvenation of a restaurant is an event that always occurs amidst a swirl of exciting questions. The whys as to name, chef, menu, ingredients, concept and – naturally – decor are typically many. In the case of the Budapest Hilton, therefore, we trusted nothing to chance, but took in the hotel’s newly renovated restaurant personally.
It is in the spring sunshine, beside the well-known, perpetually impressive buildings of the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church that we, filled with expectation, stroll into the recently remodelled Budapest Hilton. At the outset, our footsteps are perceptibly slowed by the bedazzling atmosphere of the international-prize-winning interior of the lobby, but from there, our attention is quickly drawn to that particular view of the Danube that pops into view behind the wide-open door of the restaurant – the one extolled by many thousands of posts on social media.
Taking our seats in the elegantly reserved, warm atmosphere of the restaurant, we immediately sense the comfort of the locale and mindfulness of its staff. Thanks to moveable walls, the new restaurant, the work of English interior designers at Goddard Littlefair, accommodates large-scale breakfasts attended by hundreds as easily as smaller, more intimate lunches and dinners for 80-100 or the hotel’s popular Sunday brunches. There is even room for a modern show kitchen and elegant wine bar to enhance the dining experience. The interior does not, however, distract from what is certainly the best view in Budapest, but rather permits the blue swath of the beloved Danube and the archways of the Fisherman’s Bastion to peer through the windows. Exclusively comfortable furniture and warm sandy colours, too, help us to take in and enjoy the experience that LÁNG Bistro & Grill has to offer.
LÁNG Bistro & Grill. The reason behind the choice of name grows ever clearer. Láng = Flame, as in fire, renewal, passion. Flame that offers both warmth and a welcoming presence to sit around. The arrival of Executive Chef Imre Maráczi and his menu, a dynamic selection built around knowledge, experience, and an abiding love of good food, is flame itself. Maráczi speaks of ingredients from the best places with torrential enthusiasm, a feeling he similarly exudes when recounting his ties to Vas and Zala Counties, which – in offerings such as his Chef’s “Zala Crayfish Cappuccino” or Home-Made Őrség Goat Cheese – have naturally left their mark on the menu, as well. The chef believes it important that a menu be clear, and that it be able to be taken in at first reading. In putting his selection together, Maráczi strives for seasonality, a proclivity from which one can already surmise that with the coming of spring, the Bistro’s menu, too, will take a lighter, more colourful turn.
Imre Maráczi, who first arrived at the Budapest Hilton on 17 August 2018, now fills the position of both Hilton Executive Chef and Corporate Executive Chef for the entire Danubius Hotels Group, while also assisting corporate-level kitchen and restaurant work as Corporate Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage. Maráczi came to the castle from the Budapest Marriott, where he had been directing the hotel’s culinary and Food & Beverage groups as head chef since returning from abroad in 2015, and where he had the distinction of having been selected Marriot’s best chef in Europe in 2017.
The Budapest Hilton’s new, modern, bistro-like restaurant is characterised by a clean, honest kitchen in which traditional gastronomy is invested through creative touch with a light, trendy, international quality. Its domestic take on international ingredients – one which witnesses scallops and blood sausage keeping good company on the same plate – gives the familiar elements of Hungarian cuisine new meaning. Naturally, the menu also includes old Hungarian favourites in a classic, but fine-tuned form, like Grandma’s Chicken Paprikash, cooked sous-vide and served with buttered dumplings in a little red cookpot, with a side of sour-cream cucumber salad. And as one scoops up from the bottom of that little red pot that very last, freshly cut dumpling, still dripping its mellow, creamy paprika gravy, the steeple of Matthias Church peers in through the window. It is, in short, an authentic, old-fashioned gastronomic experience in Budapest’s iconic Castle District, where every day, thousands of tourists come to gape, eyes open wide.
The trendy, single-leaf Hungarian-English menu devotes a separate section to foods from the “grill,” which diners can pair at will with a variety of side dishes and free sauces, from Tuscan tomato to Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce. Naturally, LÁNG Bistro & Grill’s own signature dish is the LÁNG Burger prepared with a secret sauce, and which commands a size, appearance, and orgy of flavours to instantly appease any burger lover. A notable feature of this dish is that each and every part is made in the Hilton kitchens!
The desserts, too, hold at least one surprise in store: the Terka torte, subtitled “Pándi cherry nibbles”. “Aunt Terka” was a legendary figure in hotelier circles; and that her pure chocolate, almond-flour miracle cake, with its fresh, variously textured Pándy cherry accoutrements, should have made its way from the staff’s canteen to the plates of the Hilton’s guests is a striking example of the establishment’s honest, traditionally based yet creative cuisine.
To view the full menu, click here:
Sunday Brunch at LÁNG Bistro & Grill
Currently enjoying unbelievable popularity are the restaurant’s revamped Sunday brunches, for which an early reservation is strongly recommended. The “All You Can Eat” buffet lunch offers unlimited consumption of sparkling wine, beer, wine, soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, and tea for a total price of 10,900 HUF per person, including service. Children are kept entertained in special play corners, while adults enjoy pleasant live music. Children under 4 eat free of charge and those between 4 and 14 receive a discount of 50%!
LÁNG Bistro & Grill, with its seasonal, á la carte menu, is open for lunch from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., and for dinner from 6:00 p.m.