A restaurant in Budapest with superb wine list

Monk’s Bistrot is not a monastery with only bread and wine, it is a culinary hotspot in the heart of Budapest. Though it resembles a monastery in a sense that the staff treats your soul as well. „I went back in less than 24 hours” – said a guest in a comment, and it tells everything. Huge, spectacular kitchen island, friendly staff, bistrot food with a touch of fine dining and great wine list.

How to treat criticism

Being a journalist, it is my duty to investigate a restaurant properly before I recommend it to my readers. I once had lunch at this place, I loved every moment of it, even though it was only a weekday lunch menu (now at only 2780 HUF = 8.6 euros). Before writing this piece I have checked all the comments on their Facebook-page. Apart from the numerous positive comments there was one, who blamed the sommelier for the choice of wine. These kind of negative comments are also typical, but the answer was the one which attracted my attention. The sommelier (or the manager) gave a detailed explanation of the wine and its natural characteristics. He refuted all the complaints in a polite, but accurate manner. I liked it. It made me even more curious, I also want to go back, like the guest I mentioned in the lead, to try a la carte dishes. As chef Zoltán Piroth said, a la carte dishes are the ones where they have a larger playground to show who they are. The below listed wine and food pairings are my recommendations (Ágnes Németh, editor of hungarianwines.eu).

Monk’s mission

„The name choice and the interior design were inspired by spirit of the local – former kitchen of the Piarist monks in the 19th century – and are a tribute to the past. When designing the current interior our aim was to find the right balance between past and present, design and functionality and fill the whole place with the subtle harmony that also is a determinant characteristic of our kitchen. Our kitchen island is open on all sides offering full transparency to the whole kitchen process from chopping through cooking to plating. Watching the art of cooking while you dine is like a new kind of theater and can be truly inspirational, changing the way you think about the food you eat. We not only want to show customers the ingredients and reinforce freshness and quality but also prove our aptitude and thus share our passion for gastronomy. We do not have anything to hide.” Monk’s has been selected recently among the Top 10 gourmet restaurants of Budapest by Gasztrokalauz.

Zsirai középhegy furmint tokaji 2016

Zsirai Középhegy Furmint, Tokaj and zander

This Furmint from the tiny village of Mád is one my favourite Furmint wines. „On the nose flowers, linden, nectar and some mineral notes. Apricot, apricot stone. On the palate the wine is dominated by determined acidity and it is balanced with the residual sugar around 4 gramms. The honeyed, nectary, flowery notes are also present. Elegant wine with its own character which reflects the terroir as well.”Like all the other wines of the wine list, you can have it by the glass. Why not try a recent dish of Monk’s, zander with quinoa.

„We not only try to make our meals delicious and beautiful through the art of plating, but it is also very important for us that they be healthy. That is why we served our zander with quinoa… did you know that quinoa is very high in vitamin B2, which helps speed up the metabolism in your brain and muscles?”– says Monk’s team.

Lajvér Bikavér, Szekszárd

Precisely made, fruity, elegant wines from the crispy white to the matured red ones – this is state-of-art Lajvér WIne Estate. „Ripe scents, not over-intensive but multi-faceted. Starting out with dried cranberries we arrive via blackberry pie and tanned leather to cherry liqueur, summoning forth many scents and familiar flavours. In its taste it can be felt that age has brought a few wrinkles to its face, but its full-bodiedness keeps it alive. And the right acids, of course. Leather and mushrooms are at least as strongly present as are fruits, the latter of which register rather in the form of jams, preserves and dried fruits. The structure is still stable, and ageing has enhanced its character.”Try it with duck breast, unforgettable match!