18 Oct

Miksa Cafe: Sustainable Food for Urban Dwellers

Back in the day on Falk Miksa street, there was a lovely café. It was a calm place with a few tables. Sometimes we even walked past by it, and when we realized we were already a block away. But it has changed. What happened to the Miksa Café?

We help to answer the question: It has been renovated.

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Luckily in this case, the “new recipe” (which usually means that the taste of your favourite yoghurt is destroyed) means that the renewed Café is better than ever! It got a nice gallery where kids can rampage, and downstairs a little bit more place for tables. And yes, it got a balcony too, which is a plus point in summertime – especially since it is in the shadow almost the whole day.

What we like even more is the emphasis on sustainability, which we already suspected earlier was important for the owners. Its slogan – ‘sustainable nutrition for urban dwellers’ – could sound elevated; just like the list on their webpage about their principles: earth friendly, ethical, humane, transparent, small farmers, dog friendly etc. We could almost find all the eco-trendy words – which immediately made as suspicious. Sadly nowadays a lot of these statements turn out just to be greenwashing.. So we went to check it out.

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Kati , of the Café’s owners told as that the eco-café idea wasn’t a sudden one, but an old and long-planned dream come true. “We were always looking for the real producer’s goods – not just those that have “small farmers” written on the packaging. Rather, we really wanted to know who and how produced or grown what we cook from. Our business manager Zsuzsanna Kozma-Balogh worked uncountable hours to find the – preferably organic – suppliers, who can provide us the suitable quality of vegetable, fruits, milk products, bakery products, meat or wild meat. She’s been spending her Saturdays at the farmers market of Budaörs and MOM Park.

Miksa’s supply list is the evidence that the hard work paid off: there are thirty firms on the list, which is not even complete. “We are testing a lot of goods. We want to work with Hungarian ingredients, but for example we have not found the proper noodles yet, thus we use Italian products instead at the moment. And we also have contractual limitations: we are under contract with our café supplier until December, than we can change to a fair trade supplier.” – told Kati.

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As we were going through on regular topics (energy and water efficiency, environmental friendly cleaning products, waste treatment, etc.) we realized what the Miksa Café states is true – so it’s maybe not surprising that they won the Sustainable Restaurant qualification. They also told us, where the system is not perfectly green yet: “We just suspect that our hygiene paper is chlorine-free, but we can’t be sure. The selective waste collection is also not complete: we don’t collect the biodegradable waste separately yet.” – confesses Kati.

Despite all of the problems, we think that the café is going on a good way to became one of the most environmentally friendly places in Budapest: they even pay attention to such small things as their straws, which is biodegradable. Miksa also participates in community initiatives: beside the continuous Gastro Slam (what is an exclusive eco-supper and public meeting with famous slammers) Miksa took part on Slow Week, and in the summer Plastic Bottle Battle too.

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Last, but not at least: you can actually have a good meal here! Beside the permanent offer, a daily menu is also available (vegetarian and non-vegetarian too, and at least one gluten, lactose and sugar free option). We have tried the currant-gooseberry soup and couscous salad but we are planning to try the mangalitsa, the smoked goat cheese and the home made spreads on organic bread.

If you are around the Parliament, don’t miss this place!

The article originally appeared in Hungarian on 13th July, 2015.
Thank you for tha translation, Zsófi Winkler!