The new bistro was brought to our attention by our friends two weeks after its opening, saying that the „Halkakas” (Fish Rooster) must have a spot on our blog. A few days later, on the first day of the hot spell, we were already sitting at the table in the cozy little restaurant on the corner near Fővám Square, sipping on lemonade and freshly squeezed fruit juices.
The friends who opened the place created a simple, but stylish, high standard bistro, offering fish on the menu only. And by doing this, they fill in a big gap in Hungary – and not only because fish is well-known to be healthy. While one of our cult cartoon is the “Nagy Ho-Ho Horgász” (Great Fi-Fi-Fisher), and we have many authentic Hungarian fish dishes, many people still justify not eating fish by the following statements: “it has a muddy taste”, “smells bad” (or “like fish” :) ) and “has bones that might stuck in our throat”, etc. Now Halkakas intends to totally change these stereotypes, since it is impossible not to try all of their creative fish-pates, which prove us that different type of fish have different tastes. Our professional host also helps us to choose wisely from the main dishes, in case we don’t want to fight with the bones. And of course all people fall for the fish gyros, which is so good that even meat fans can be turned into fish lovers.
Contrary to the fact that we have rivers and lakes rich in all kinds of fish, unfortunately in everyday life eating fish is not a common thing in our country: we consume about 35-40% of our yearly fish during the Christmas holiday. So fish can mainly be considered a festive food in Hungary at the moment, but initiatives like the Halkakas can contribute to successfully change this eating habit.
Several debates are going on nowadays about the connection between fish consumption and environmental protection. The overfishing of certain species (Atlantic bluefin tuna, grouper, Atlantic cod, etc.) and fish that comes from distant countries’ fish farms (e.g: salmon) are causes of serious environmental impacts. (Check out NatGeo’s Seafood Decision Guide here!) That’s why it’s important that the Halkakas Fish Bistro serves locally raised fish from Rétimajor, one of the centers of the bio-fish farming in Hungary, in the territory of the Aranyponty Ltd., where they also grow vegetables for the restaurant. So almost all goodies on the menu are locally produced, except for the lemon, olives and the Greek yogurt. Moreover, the cleaning products and toilet papers are eco-friendly and waste is recycled in the restaurant.
By the time we finished up the delicious pates and main courses, we were certain that the Halkakas is a true Hero of Responsible Dining. We think that it’s high time for affordable, high standard, locally sourced bistros to enter into the world of Turkish and Chinese fast-food restaurants and northern fish snack bar franchises. It seems that Halkakas intends to take on this challenge successfully with its innovative fish dishes, also serving Hungarian wines, homemade beers, and “pálinka” (traditional Hungarian fruit brandy) to sip with our meals. We recommend meat and fish lovers as well to pop into the Veres Pálné Street on a hot summer evening for a light salad and fish delicacy, or on Fridays for a special Fish soup lunch!
As always: Huge applause for Katalin Hall, who translated this article from the original!!