Address: 1051 Budapest Vörösmarty tér 7-8. (Entrance from Harmincad street)
Opened in April 2007, Onyx Restaurant is a fine establishment within the city centre of Budapest. Drawing in old and new techniques, executive chef Szabina Szulló has created a menu which offers classic Hungarian dishes with a contemporary flair. The restaurant has been drawing in both local and international diners since its inception, and has received a myriad of awards, including being ranked Number 3 in Hungary in the Hungarian Best Restaurant Guide for 2010 and receiving its first Michelin star in 2011.
The restaurant was small and intimate, with only 55 seats. I mentioned in my review of Cafe Central (Budapest) that we found most of the food in Budapest unbearably salty, but Onyx was one of the only restaurants we visited that didn’t have this problem. The staff at the restaurant were gracious and helpful, and the set lunch menu offered fantastic value – a 3-course lunch was only at 4,990 HUF, which means after service charge the meal only cost around HK$200. However, the only fault with this sophisticated restaurant was that the service was rather slow on the day we went. We spent a total of 2 hours at lunch, and there was a 30-minute gap between the appetiser and the main course.
(1) K, L and I all went for the Tuna tartar with sesame consommé for our appetiser. The tuna had a soft and tender texture, and the sesame consommé was light and mellow, which was good for complementing the tuna. Some chopped chives added a Japanese touch and extra freshness to the dish, and we were really glad that we finally tasted a dish that had a “normal” level of saltiness!
(2) I ordered the Seabass with caldeirada sauce and served with saffron risotto as the main course, and it was excellently done. The seabass’ skin was beautifully fried until crispy, and the saffron risotto had perfect consistency and taste – it was not too mushy nor too hard, and was packed with flavours. I love eating risotto and have ordered it at many different restaurants in Europe and in Hong Kong, and it is surprising how many “fine” restaurants can get this dish wrong, so I was rather pleased that the saffron risotto at Onyx was so well executed.
(3) Another main course was the Free range guinea fowl breast with goose liver royal, spinach cream, and creamy egg yolk. The guinea fowl breast had a firm, chewy texture, and was nicely fried on the outside to yield a gorgeous, light brown colour. The creamy egg yolk was rich and delicious, and added not only extra flavours but also a special, creative note to this dish.
(4) For desserts, the three of us all ordered the same thing – the Vanilla-caramel milles feuilles with salted caramel ice cream. The milles feuilles was light, buttery, and layered, and the vanilla-caramel was creamy and smooth. The caramel ice cream was delightfully creamy, but could have been a bit more flavourful. We were given a little shot glass of vanilla sauce to drizzle on the milles feuilles, but it got us a bit confused initially and we were wondering whether it was a drink or a sauce (I know, we were being idiots…but we were on holidays, and therefore not supposed to be using brain!) Not having drunk the vanilla sauce, we poured it over our dessert and it went very well with everything on the plate.
Conclusion: We had a very pleasant (albeit rather lengthy) lunch at Onyx Restaurant. Fine food, polite service and comfortable chairs were everything we needed on a winter day in Budapest.