Although it’s a tiny place in Frankel Leó street, it’s still easy to find: a small red Renault from the sixties parks at the front of the entrance like it decided to spend its remaining 20-30 years on the spot, before going to the junkyard. Originally, a good friend of the owners owned it, who used to park in front of the building, but now it has become one of the symbols of the breakfast place called “SzendZso”. The place became very famous in no time since its opening 2 years ago. Thanks to its “Egg cream bagel”, it received the 2nd best breakfast place award from Dining Guide in that a year, and by 2013, it already moved up to the first place with the “Ham&Eggs bagel”. Frankly, it wasn’t the Dining Guide award that made us curious about them; rather the graphics on the website which made us think that this place must be a responsible one. Well, they didn’t disappoint us, because it turned out that there’s a lot more behind the Hungarian style graphics and decoration – it’s not just simple esthetics.
When we entered the little room with only 5 tables, we felt like traveling back in time to Hungary as it was 200 years ago. You can hear folk music, the waiters and waitresses come and go wearing shirts with baggy sleeves and folk motifs, and the walls are decorated with jugs and cutlery that even our ancestors have already inherited. So the place is really charming, and we highly recommend it to those who admire Hungarian traditions; but this just wasn’t enough for us. We’ve had a chance to catch one of the owners, Mr. Zsolt Horváth. Out of the two owners – both called Zsolti -, he is the one who is usually there, supervising and entertains the guests. The owner explained to us that most of the dishes here are prepared with authentic Hungarian ingredients, just as the soft drinks, beers and yogurts.
We can also buy here products from local farmers and producers, such as salami of Szilváshús Ltd., products of Bükki Sajt (traditional cheese manufacture in the Bükk Mountain), chocolate from the Falmich Gall Manufacture and the Méhes-Mézes syrups. Our host was very proud of their homemade bread and pastry that he buys from a young pastry-cook in Budapest – the selection also changes daily. This summer we’ll be able to buy ice-cream too at SzendZso’s, thanks to their supplier, the famous “Fragola” ice-cream shop. We were pleased to see the energy saver light bulbs, the glasses functioning like lampshades and the induction oven, but the moment we found out that they don’t deliver because they don’t intend to produce any plastic waste, we became so happy that we decided to sit down and have dinner there. Since most of the morning offer is available also at dinner time, we have tasted the famous ham&eggs bagel and a cheese salad.
I really enjoy nowadays the different fruit juices that are made by the cannery of Kiskőrös, and what I received at several similar places that intentionally offers locally produced goods, selling them like “soft drinks”. The best places, such as SzendZso, serve them without a straw, and by this they reduce unnecessary waste. The owner chose this particular cannery, because it’s possible to return the 3 dl bottles, so they don’t have to throw them out. Considering the alcoholic beverages, they don’t have a permanent wine selection, the exclusively Hungarian wines that they buy change every second month, depending on the actual offer.
They also sell crafted, Hungarian beer and as a specialty, a Czech-alike pilsner with 12% ABV, called “Ogre” that was created by Szent András Brewery at Marosvári. „Ogre” László’s desire, who is for sure one of the greatest beer enthusiasts and critics in Hungary – explained the owner.
Although unfortunately Coca-cola nowadays can be considered almost as a Hungarian product – and therefore it can be part of the selection at such places like this – but it still has disappointed us that we discovered one Coca-cola cooler behind the counter. I start to think that in Hungary, one of the requirements for opening a new restaurant is to offer Coca-cola…
Fortunately we have found something that distracted our attention from the Coca-cola „disappointment”; it was another small room behind the guest area and washrooms with toy animals and little chairs, so parents with small kids or babies can leave them or they can even play with them until the food arrives. The owner told us that according to his experience, children are not really welcome in restaurants, because they’re loud and cannot behave properly and thus aggravate the waiters or the other guests. So they have decided to dedicate a separate room for the kids, where they can yell and shout and misbehave as much as they want, without bothering the guests in the other areas. We can totally agree with this, because there’s not many places in Budapest where young mothers are welcome with their kids. Now this is what we call CSR! So mommies, this is a place for you!
The article originally appeared in Hungarian on 4th Sept, 2013.
Many thanks for Kati Hall and Juci Zollai for the translation!