At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Budapest was a really nice destination to go to.
But before that, for those of you who are new readers to The British Berliner, yours truly had a genuinely first-rate experience with the German media.
Oh you know.
The Queen came to Berlin!
You can read all about how I was invited to be on the rbb (the Berlin-Brandenburg TV station) evening TV show as a sub-presenter on a panel of British experts and how I was a main feature on a documentary about established British people in Berlin.
I was featured as a British expat blogger about town on a show called Berlin. Very British! Not only that, but the documentary was picked up by other national German TV stations such as Phoenix, ARD and ZDF! And I was on a about three (3) different types of British expats living in Berlin, of which I was one. The production was called Briten in Berlin or Brits in Berlin.
I mean, wow!
Sometimes, I still can’t believe it!
And just to add to that, at the end of July, I was contacted by the Editor-in-Chief of Europe’s largest online newspapers – The Local in Germany – in which I was interviewed about my life in Germany and how I came to make a documentary and headline on German TV. The piece was called How I explained the Queen to the Germans!
Do read! It’s a rather entertaining piece, as are the trolls at the end of it LOL!
Most importantly, you get to see a more personal side to me..!
Back to Budapest!
Budapest can be a real gem if you let yourself be in the moment and just go for all the remarkable food that you can find right there. In Budapest.
So let’s go back to basics and start at the very beginning.
At the beginning of any day, one ought to have a healthy breakfast. It’s even better if your place of sleep includes breakfast as a matter of course.
As a British person, it’s pretty much a given that when you have a bed, you also have a breakfast. It isn’t often so in the United States and it wasn’t to be at some of the places that I originally looked at before thankfully, landing on the Buddha-Bar Hotel and the Aria Hotel Budapest.
Last week, I told you all about the exquisite musically inspired boutique that is the Aria Hotel Budapest but I haven’t yet told you about the Asian-inspired Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply the Buddha-Bar Hotel yet, and I should!
The Buddha-Bar Hotel is a 5-star urban chic luxury hotel based on the trendy corner of Váci utca, in the heart of Budapest.
The hotel was originally a delightful hundred-year-old (100) Klotild Palace which has now been dressed up as a mysterious Asian-colonial place influenced by Buddha. And indeed, every part of the hotel was coated with black, red and dark orange as well as Asian-influenced statutes throughout the hotel.
The location is absolutely divine!
There’s an underground station – Ferenciek Square – a few paces away, an exclusive pedestrian-only shopping zone, located on the corner of the famous Váci utca or Váci street, which is one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares and perhaps the most famous High Street in Budapest! Many of the major tourist attractions are nearby, as is the Danube river, the Chain Bridge, the Grand Market Hall, lots of historical buildings and the Buda Castle, which you can see right on the opposite side of the bridge!
In fact, from the Buddha-Bar Hotel, everywhere was pretty much walkable or if you’re so inclined, all the tour buses also stop near the outer side of the hotel!
Because the Buddha-Bar Hotel used to be a distinguished palace, the area is huge both inside and out. The hotel consists of one-hundred and two (102) rooms and we were upgraded to the Executive Room.
Our room was red and black with lots of Buddha heads and Chinese dragons. Unfortunately, because of the colour scheme, the room can seem a bit dark but there were hidden lights in obscure places.
If you’re a couple it would be brilliant, but as a mother with a growing lad and lots of technical equipment, it wasn’t bright enough.
I recommend that you use them all!
We were welcomed by a gigantic tray of fruit and a rather nice bottle of Hungarian red wine!
Thank you so much!
Our Executive Room was roomy with a really nice seating area and two large twin beds.
I liked the way that the wardrobes and cupboards had the minimalist touch. Just push lightly and they would open.
There was a safe, fridge and a large-screen TV with all the international channels and Asian inspirational lounge music, as well as dressing gowns, fluffy towels and fluffy slippers.
The bathroom was amazing.
It was huge and had two (2) sinks.
It also had a gigantic bath tub and The White Company bathing products. If you’re a couple. You’re in for a wonderful time….! (Oh why. Oh why. Wasn’t my husband – The Music Producer with us?!)
There was also complimentary coffee with it’s own trendy coffee-maker but as you all know. I hate coffee and only drink tea.
Not fruit tea.
Not herbal tea.
Just black tea.
Unfortunately, that was sometimes an issue. Either there was only a single tea-bag, no milk or even no tea bag at all. On our last evening I waited for 1.5 hours for my life-enhancing tea!
Our Executive Room also included complimentary WiFi which normally would have been quite OK, but as a blogger, I need fast reliable WiFi that won’t drop.
The connection dropped and I ended up having to re-connect again and again.
It’s a good thing that I had already written my post before I left Germany…
Having said that, as I told you last week, the sauna and spa were remarkable. I was worried about the sauna bathing situation as countries on the continent have no qualms about going au naturel.
But I cannot be so calm, and unconcerned.
I just can’t!
The sauna staff had assured me that by 20:00 the spa and sauna area would have very few people in and she was right.
For the first twenty (20) minutes or so, we were all by ourselves. There was a Finnish sauna, an infra-red sauna, a steaming room, a pool that was a tank of ice-cold water à la Siberia, a Japanese bath (jacuzzi), warm stone beds and a fitness area.
We were later joined by an Irish man with his Spanish wife and his ten (10) year old daughter and we were all as nervous as each other.
So that’s alright then!
The spa and sauna were very, very good and highly recommended, the staff were obliging and friendly and the concierge knew everything that needed to be known!
The Buddha Hotel isn’t expensive but neither is it cheap.
Here it comes…
All this from €188.00 per night in the Executive Room which for two (2) people would be €94.00 a pop!
I think for the luxury of sleeping in a palace surrounded by a group of friends or an obliging lover, you would do rather well!
Speaking of recommended, I think it’s time to get back to talking about food.
Whenever we go on a family holiday, I like to mix things up a little in order to experience a wide variety of food possibilities, to meet the locals, and to stretch our budget in a more comfortable way.
Countries in this part of Europe are not known for having exquisite food. They’re not France you know! Even Germany has an image of cabbage and stodge and Hungary has been influenced by everyone and it’s mother, so I’m going to introduce you to some Hungarian delights!
Traditional Hungarian food tends to stretch from soups, stews, grilled and fried meat, the use of vegetables such as tomato, cabbage, beans and onions, garlic and stuffed cabbage, to a local type of pancake and of course, the Hungarian icon – the red paprika!
You can of course also observe and partake in fine dining places, trendy street food stands, organic farmers markets, soup bistros, fish restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, cafés and of course, ruin bars.
I’ll be focusing on the more traditional, day-to-day stuff.
A HUNGARIAN BREAKFAST:
Both hotels that we went to had some delicious stuff.
For breakfast at the Aria Hotel Budapest, an à la carte menu was supplied, and you could choose a selection of eggs to be cooked, and you helped yourself to a variety of breads, jams and honey, cereal, muesli, fruit and berries, home-made spreads and sauces, seafood, delicious cold cuts and Hungarian salami, a medium-sized range of cheeses, vegetables, pickles, nuts and cream, as well as cake, pastries, tea, coffee, water and juices.
At the Buddha-Bar Hotel, they had an à la carte menu too in which you could choose eggs of any style, smoked salmon, pancakes with blueberries and syrup, or porridge! They also had a self-service buffet with cold cuts, vegetables, sauces, pickles and cream. As well as a wide variety of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, muesli, bread, cake, pastries, and juices.
Cost – €0.00.
This soup and it is soup, is different from German goulash stew!
As you can see, there’s pieces of beef, potatoes, carrots and is a little bit spicy.
I don’t really like spice but I cope!
Anyway, we got this soup at the NIKA restaurant not far from the Buddha-Bar Hotel. And it was rather nice. We got this soup as a result of the Hungarian established Budapest Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off company. Their package came with a booklet of free stuff!
Cost – €0.00.
We had this soup at a Hungarian restaurant called Gastland Bisztró. We went to the establishment in Oktogon.
The soups above are meat soup and a traditional goulash soup and there’s a third (3rd) one but I forgot to note down which soup it was. On doing some research, I figure it could have been bean or chicken soup!
Cost – Included in the price of the buffet which ranges from 1,190 Hungarian Forint or €3.80 depending on the day. We went on Sunday so the price jumped to 1,590 Hungarian Forint or €5.15 per person. In order to have the two-hour (2) buffet price, you are expected to order drinks if not, 200 Hungarian Forint is added to your bill, per person. Also, if you take too much food and leave a lot of waste, you will also be charged for it.
Don’t say that I didn’t warn you!
Cost: 4,450 Hungarian Forint or €14.50 for both of us on the buffet option and also a couple of drinks.
HUNGARIAN MAIN COURSES:
The very famous chicken paprika with some sort of Hungarian pasta or gulyas.
The pasta – gulyas was a little chewy and I probably wouldn’t rush for seconds, but the chicken paprika itself was quite nice!
Cost – part of our first (1st) night three-course dinner at the Bali Caffe Étterem which at 2,690 Hungarian Forint or €9.00 was reasonable!
We saw pork on a spit in quite a few places as people in this region, do like their pork. And pancake filled with a meat filling. And beef. LOL!
Cost – I haven’t a clue!
Cost – Food from the Mediterranean could be found everywhere between 700 – 1,000 Hungarian Forint or €2.25 – €3.25.
OTHER HUNGARIAN STUFF:
Hungary, like Germany, has a large variety of bread which is influenced by it’s Turkish, Greek and Italian neighbours. As such, there’s a lot of street food that can be sampled…!
As you can see, the kilfi is a traditional Hungarian bread which is sort of moon-shaped and can be found all over the country at no more than a few Florints.
Cost – 20-100 Hungarian Forint or €0.06 – €0.35.
You can’t go to Hungary without sampling some of the local Hungarian salami. And yes, some varieties are spicier than others.
But they are rich in flavour.
Cost – Varies.
I’m on a roll so I’m going to go straight ahead and show you the other side of rummaging and wandering through the market hall.
Yes, batches of chicken feet all wrapped up in plastic for soup, stew, pets, coffee..?!
Don’t look if you’re squeamish.
Above are batches of plastic bags full of chicken heads!
I haven’t a clue what is to be done with them. Any ideas?
We shared the Palacsinta or Hungarian Crêpe, with very warm honey and jam.
It was quite delicious!
Cost – part of our first (1st) night three-course dinner at the Bali Caffe Étterem which at 2,690 Hungarian Forint or €9.00 was acceptable!
I think it’s called a Kréme which is a creamy dessert with a caramel topping, a puff pastry layer, whipped cream and a custard filling. We took the cake that didn’t have chocolate in it!
Cost – 200 Hungarian Forint or – €0.65.
These buns are probably more akin to bread than cake but who’s counting?
Cost – 100 to 200 Hungarian Forint or – € 0.35 to €0.65.
It is what it says on the tin – cheese cream cornets.
Cost – 180 Hungarian Forint or – €0.58.
Cream split doughnuts and Fánk which is a sugary sweet traditional Hungarian dumpling ball!
Cost – 100 to 200 Hungarian Forint or – € 0.35 to €0.65.
One of the most recognisable Hungarian desserts world-wide, is Kürtőskalács.
Kürtőskalács is a Szekely festival Hungarian cake and is made from sweet yeast dough in which a strip is spun and then wrapped around a cone–shaped baking spit, and rolled in granulated sugar and other items!
Cost – 265 Hungarian Forint or – € 0.35 to €0.65.
And lastly, some good ‘ole fruit and summer berries picked a-fresh!
That’s it for now.
For more information about the Buddha-Bar Hotel, please contact: The Buddha-Bar Hotel.
This article is part-sponsored by the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest and part-sponsored by the Aria Hotel Budapest and I received a 50% discount on the Budapest Card, but all opinions and the very enticing Hungarian meals that I chomped on, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
Next week, I’ll be writing about Prague.
If you’re not in Berlin right now, you should be!
August is cooling down!
Watch this space!
Have you ever had Hungarian food or drink? Would you choose to eat chicken feet, chicken Paprika or goulash soup?