The famous city’s splendour reigns supreme in this swanky Budapest-based café
Surely there’s no going backin time. Man doesn’t possess the ability to wander through the wrinkles of time. But he may, at present, have an eye for design, a taste for good flavours, and a memory of the old-world nostalgia that keeps reviving what was lost, cementing wistfulness into a romantic reality that might as well be considered magic in itself.
In the 20th-century Hungary, brilliant journos made their way through the doors of a familiar coffee house in Budapest – New York Kávéház. Once, the room was hounded with the sound of papers unfurling, of nibs scratching through the covers as inky hands scribbled notes in a dash. Voices murmured low. This place, the New York Café, gave birth to many of the country’s most influential newspapers, serving hot brunch to the night-owl reporters kept awake by news. There is no question about its name; even in Hungary, the jazzy charm of America’s famous city rings loud and true. Unfortunately, as bombs rained overhead during the Second World War, this beloved site crumbled into a sporting goods shop.
Glitz, glamour, and goulash
Despite the decades, the memory of its Beef Goulash still lingers in one’s palate. Since then, New York Café took many transformations—the most recent in 2006, where it regained its original beauty as an elegant dining space wrapped in the whimsy of Renaissance. Chef András Wolf and Executive Chef Abrudán Zsolt magnanimously bring back the old favourites, classic dishes and famous desserts.
At the ring of the clock, men in their black tux arrive in a neat line embracing a bottle of white, setting tables and serving the delicate flavours of Hungarian aristocracy on a plate. The atmosphere has changed now; there are no papers scattered on the table, no unruly scent of cigar, just the fragrance of prime elegance swarming through the amber-lit hall as hearty enthusiasts dig into their modern schnitzel. The writers and editors, who used to stay in the second gallery, are long gone, but some eras make legends, some legends stay throughout the eras. The spirit of New York it is safe to say, remains forever. At least, in New York Café. www.newyorkcafe.hu ◼
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© This article was first published online in Jan 2020 – World Travel Magazine.