Pancakes I Have Known

Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) is here again. The first pancake’s always rubbish isn’t it – you might as well give it to the dog, except Basil’s still at home in Kent. There’s no need to miss out on the pancake action whilst you’re here in Budapest – the palacsinta is a staple on any self-respecting Hungarian menu, after all. I like pancakes a lot, so it would seem like I'm in the right place. Here are some tales of my latest conquests.

Belvárosi Lugas Étterem
Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 15 [map]
Pest Centre, VI, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky (M1) or
Deák F. tér (M3), 2 mins

First stop: sour cherry-filled pancakes with almond sauce at the Belvárosi Lugas Étterem opposite St. Stephen’s Basilica. Big portion, loads of sour cherries, lovely and plump and shiny. The almond sauce however, was also generously slopped all over the pancakes, and since it was an unearthly pale green colour, the dish didn’t look very appetizing. Are almonds green? Maybe there was an accident with the food colouring in the kitchen. It made me anxious to wipe my mouth well after each forkful, to avoid walking out into Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út with green slime on my chin, looking like an extra from a zombie flick. I couldn’t finish it, but I left the restaurant with an enjoyable warm, if slightly gloopy feeling.

Alföldi Vendéglő
Kecskeméti utca 4 [map]
Pest Centre, V, Kálvin tér (M3), 1 min

Not a nation to miss a meat-eating opportunity, the Hungarians also stuff their pancakes with beef in a tasty dish from the eastern plains. Hortobágyi palacsinta are served covered in a pleasing swamp of soured cream and paprika sauce. I’d like to imagine the cowboys on the plains of the Hortobágy eating these, but they seem far too structurally unsound to eat on horseback. And if your horse decided to sit down on its hind legs before you’d finished it, then you’d really be in trouble.

The Alföldi Vendéglő offer it as a hearty starter (or heart-stopper?), which my friend ordered. She definitely made the right choice, I thought as I looked at my enormous beef-stuffed cabbage surrounded by a ‘garnish’ of fatty chunks of pork, drenched in a rich and salty tomato sauce. I looked across the coronary-red and salt-white tablecloth and envied her choice of meal. Beware the generous portions, but do visit for a genuine taste of Hungarian country cooking.

Berliner Pub
Ráday utca, 5. [map]
Pest South, IX,
Kálvin tér (M3), 4 min

On trendy Ráday utca, I shared a truly delicious pancake with a friend in the cellar of the Berliner Pub. We ended an excellent meal with a plate of Gundel palacsinta and two spoons. I’m not sure if it was the rum-soaked filling or the incredibly rich dark chocolate sauce, but these indulgent pancakes made me swoon. For half the price of the same dish at Gundel’s Étterem, these are much better value-for-money and there’s no need to comb your hair and shine your shoes before you go in.
cakes, cherry, eating, food, gundel, gundle, hungary, pan, pancake, pancakes
Lucy F.



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