Address: 9 Károlyi Mihály utca Pest, District V Budapest Hungary 1053
Telephone: +36 1 266 2110
One thing that made me very happy during my visit to Budapest was the fact that foie gras was a very common dish there, and could easily be found on restaurant menus. On our 4-day trip to the city, we ate as much fois gras as we could manage, until we got sick of it. One of the restaurants at which we had a goose liver feast was Cafe Central, a long-standing cafe in the city centre recommended by our guidebook.
The cafe features a grand, historical setting, with a high ceiling and a spacious interior. The menu offers a varied selection, and the food was generally delicious, but for the fact that everything was way too salty – it was perhaps not the restaurant’s fault, as the food in Budapest was very strong and salty in general (to our Hong Kong palates). K, L and I tried asking for less salt in the food during our first few meals in Budapest, and that didn’t seem to work, so we started asking for “no salt” in our food and only then was the level of saltiness acceptable.
(1) We started our meal with a Beef Soup (1250 Ft, 5 Euro), which was very hot thanks to the layer of oil on top which helped maintain the temperature. The meat was tender and thoroughly cooked, and the potatoes were soft and powdery. Even though after two days in Budapest we were very tired of intense flavouring, we still enjoyed this tangy soup was it was tasty and soothing in the cold weather.
(2) Our next course was the Goose Trilogy – cold roasted goose liver, goose leg confit, goose liver mousse, homemade paprika loaf (2900 Ft, 11.6 Euro). The goose liver was alluringly silky and tender, and the fatty taste of it was moreish and indulgent. Lightly roasted on the outside, the goose liver simply melted in the mouth. The goose leg confit had a firm, chewy texture and had a strong meaty taste. The paprika loaf, drizzled in sauce, was light and delicious.
(3) We ordered a portion of Luke warm salad, winter mushrooms (1599 Ft, 6.0 Euro) to go with our meats, but it didn’t taste too good. The salad was wincingly salty, even after we had asked for it to be less salty. It was also too sour as too much vinegar was added. The only good thing about the salad was that it was massive and was enough to feed the three of us.
(4) We ordered another salad, the Caesar salad, grilled chicken breast (2100 Ft, 8.4 Euro). Fortunately, it was less salty than the mushroom salad above, but there was too much dressing. Fortunately, the chicken breast was fresh and delicious and the portion was generous, so it wasn’t all bad.
(5) The Grilled Duck Liver, apple-topinambour puree, cloves jus (4200 Ft, 16.80 Euro) arrived next. It is worth noting how cheap goose or duck liver was in Budapest – this did not cost more than other main courses on the menu, such as duck breast or fish. The piece of duck liver was moreish and satisfying, and the apple puree, which was light and sweet, was the perfect match for it.
(6) Even though all the duck and goose livers certainly made us very full, we still had to eat some dessert, and ordered the Opera biscuit, coffee and butter cream (450 HUF). The cake had lots of layers, and the crushed nuts added extra textures to the rich and creamy cake.
(7) Our second dessert was the Chocolate mousse cake (450 HUF). It was creamy and scrumptious, and a piece of chestnut sat on top of it adorably.
(8) Lastly, we all ordered a cup of green tea to wash down the rather oily food we just had. It was a nice touch that we had a slice of lemon to go with our green tea.
Conclusion: Even though the salads were not so great, you could consider coming to Cafe Central if you are up for a huge foie gras feast in Budapest. We had goose or duck livers at quite a few restaurants in Budapest, and the portion size at Cafe Central was one of the largest. Most importantly, it was located in the city centre which made it a good stopping point between different sights (apologies that I cannot offer you more details on how to get to the restaurant, I am terrible at directions so please check the restaurant’s website or look on google map!)