Laurel is the name a wine & tapas bar and a fine dining restaurant. But it also refers to a plant, bay laurel (Laurus), because a famous Hungarian writer and phylosopher, Béla Hamvas had a book with the title Babérligetkönyv (Babér means bay leaf, in latin Laurus). Hamvas never had the chance to wear laurel wreath, since after the II. World War his writings were banned, he was forced to work as an unskilled worker, and most his works were written anonimously. Now, a large and high quality gastronomic and event centre is dedicated to him.
Philosophy of Wine, coffee and fresh pastries
Laurel is a complex in the heart of Budapest, and visitors first enter the bookshop called Babérliget, with all the works of Béla Hamvas and some authors similar to him. Hamvas’s famous Philosophy of Wine is quoted by hundreds of winemakers and it is a compulsory reading for Hungarian wine writers. “In each wine there lives a little angel who, when a person drinks it, does not die but makes its way among the innumerable little fairies ad angels who inhabit that person…” Babérliget bookshop is a place to have breakfast while reading, new wave coffée-s and fresh pastries, sandwiches are offered.
The best young chef and champion sommelier
The wine and tapas bar of Laurel has the same chef as the fine dining restaurant, Ádám Mede, who has just been selected the Best Young Chef of Hungary by Dining Guide publication. We Love Budapest, an online magazine published a review not long after the opening last year, and they were impressed by the dynamic creations of the chef, for example by the duck liver with raspberry flower honey and smoked paprika. Péter Tüü, sommelier champion of Hungary (twice) is the head sommelier of the place, and he is responsible for the amazing wine list. Let us recommend some wines from this comprehensive “wine book” of 200 wines.
Hárslevelű is the other main grape variety with Furmint in Tokaj. Béres Vineyard and Winery makes a zero dosage, extremely pure, refreshing yet full flavoured bottle fermented sparkling wine. “Appealing notes of apple and pear complemented by classic yeast character. The aromas typical of Hárslevelű and the aromas associated with the méthode champenoise are beautifully melded.“
Bottled fermented sparkling wine made of 100% Furmint from volcanic Somló wine region, created under the guidance of Christian Forget, the cellar master of Champagne Paul Bara. “Subtle bubbles, gentle mousse pleases the palate. Fresh and ripe at the same time with vibrant citrus fruits and acidity, plus fine notes of ageing on the lees. Its long finish is marked by grapefruit and salinity.“
The youngest star of Tokaj wine region, a state-of-art winery with precious vineyards and several international awards from the very beginning. 2016 vintage is out of stock at the winery, but visitors can still taste the first vintage of JV at Laurel. “Clear, medium intense nose with the creamy notes of peanut and besides the delicious flavours of ripened apple and pear, some fine, attractive buttery tones can also be detected. Bone dry, subtle palate with complexity and medium plus acidity. Apart from the restraint sensation of alcohol and the refined aromas, the leading features are the elegant spiciness of vanilla and the bunch of citrus fruits.“