Costes Restaurant, Budapest, 3/31/16

exterior
exterior

This popular place appeared to be a reservation-only dinner as a number of passersby stopped in to enquire and were turned away even though the table next to us sat empty all night. Does that set the tone?  The service was a bit strange. Obviously trying for “Michelin tone” they introduced the team, asked after every course if we enjoyed it, dutifully changed out flatware, refolded napkins, etc. but something was missing – maybe experience. Nice people but missing the subtlety between care and intrusion.

interior
interior
interior
interior

While I’m ranting I will also add that the lovely female sommelier was so very helpful and nice but loaded with enough cologne which is totally out of place for someone who wants you to enjoy any nose of the wine. They serve pretty food but  a bit too much on some of the saucing and then others had none and needed it. One fun quirk was when they asked if I’d like sauce on my meat or put it on myself? I replied that sauce was fine but would be glad if they left it on the side for me to use more if needed. You’ll enjoy the pictures below with the sauce on one side of the plate, not where the meat was unfortunately and then they took the vessel back with them. The restaurant serves only a tasting menu and you simply pick if you want 4 to 7 courses and wine pairings are available. We chose the 7 course and selected our own bottles of red and white wine. The meal started with several amuse bouche.

table set up
table set up
menu
menu
Menu
Menu
menu
menu
Frankie checked out their purse hanger
Frankie checked out their purse hanger
wine
wine
salmon tartar
salmon tartar
presentation
presentation
IMG_4423
Marshmallow with pumpkin seeds, gin and tonic macaroon, soft bun with cottage cheese
Breads: wheat, potato, white
Breads: wheat, potato, white
butter selections: plain, red pepper, basil and garlic, dark olive, duck fat
butter selections: plain, red pepper, basil and garlic, dark olive, duck fat
Pork jelly and pork with egg, horseradish and buttered crumbs
Pork jelly and pork with egg, horseradish and buttered crumbs

 

When the tasting started each course had 2 choices so we decided to have one of each in order to try more of their food. The duck liver and rhubarb went very nicely together and while the brioche was good I really preferred eating the dish without the bread to be able to appreciate the flavors. It was quite nice. The crayfish dish was accented with some snippets of cornichon and coriander but had way too much watercress goo on the plate. It overwhelmed  the perfectly cooked crayfish.

Duck liver with rhubarb and puffed rice
Duck liver with rhubarb and puffed rice
brioche with duck liver
brioche with duck liver
Crayfish, slightly cooked with cucumber and watercress
Crayfish, slightly cooked with cucumber and watercress
Frankie even likes fake flowers
Frankie even likes fake flowers

 

The second course brought a huge ravioli stuffed with mashed potatoes and  a soft cooked egg with a roasted morel on the side and in the sauce.  It was a giant ravioli and great. The other option was a called “our garden” but none of the greens were from their own garden. It contained cauliflower, snowpeas, carrots, squash and micro-greens and it was extremely mildly flavored.  It really needed something.

Ravioli: free range egg yolk mushroom, mashed potato
Ravioli: free range egg yolk mushroom, mashed potato
from the side
from the side
Our garden: malt and leaves, herbs and roots
Our garden: malt and leaves, herbs and roots

 

Third course was scallops, deep fried tartar and sauteed, with sea asparagus. It was also on the mild side but overall nice. The salmon trout was cooked perfectly as was the fennel and accented with a bit of dill. The bread crumbs coating the fish were especially tasty.

Scallops: celeriac, salicornia, champagne sauce
Scallops: celeriac, salicornia, champagne sauce
Salmon trout: slow cooked fennel, new potatoes
Salmon trout: slow cooked fennel, new potatoes
red wine
red wine

 

Fourth course was pigeon served as confit and rare. It came with beets and was a winner. The pike was cooked in a sous vide and then pan fried for a crispy skin. It was served with savoy cabbage sauce, brussel sprouts and red cabbage and bacon. The fish was mild and cooked nicely for an overall good combination.

Pigeon: 2 ways, beetroot and coffee
Pigeon: 2 ways, beetroot and coffee
Pike Perch: pan seared, cabbage, smoked bacon
Pike Perch: pan seared, cabbage, smoked bacon
Frankie found the labeled hand towels
Frankie found the labeled hand towels

Fifth was beef fillet served nicely rare and also braised and served in a pasta wrapper.  Small discs of polenta were mixed with onion and black garlic. The boar was from Hungary and served  with Jerusalem artichoke slices and chips, mushrooms and red currants with a morel sauce.

Beef: Poached fillet, braised ribs, onions, polenta
Beef: Poached fillet, braised ribs, onions, polenta
Hungarian Boar: Jerusalem artichokes, Wild mushrooms, red cranberry
Hungarian Boar: Jerusalem artichokes, Wild mushrooms, red cranberry

 

Sixth course was a faux TNT complete with a fuse that was lit at the table. It was strawberry and filo pastry and more show than taste. The option was a cheese course with their selection of 4 cheeses and accompanying jelly. The Hungarian cheese came with fig, the French with grape, Spain with passion fruit and Italian blue cheese with pomegranate cider. It was the more interesting choice.

on the table
on the table
fuse lit
fuse lit
Blowup: strawberry, sorbet, ragout
Blowup: strawberry, sorbet, ragout
end view
end view
Cheese: our selection
Cheese: our selection
Frankie is fascinated by jigsaw puzzles
Frankie is fascinated by jigsaw puzzles
back dining room
back dining room

Last was “a walk in the forest” that came out with the faux mist of the woods and contained chocolate sponge cake, blueberries and chocolate ice cream. A stronger chocolate would have helped the dish. The alternative was “wild flower” which was such a strong violet taste it was unpleasant. They finished the meal with a few extra candies that were okay but their rendition of the pastry rolls that are commonly sold in the street were quite good.

Walk in the forest 2016: blueberry, chocolate, ice cream
Walk in the forest 2016: blueberry, chocolate, ice cream
after the smoke clears
after the smoke clears
Wild Flower: violet, lemon, vanilla
Wild Flower: violet, lemon, vanilla
Frankie claimed the printed menu
Frankie claimed the printed menu
after dinner drinks
after dinner drinks
a few final treats
a few final treats
Frankie wanted a kiss from the chef too!
Frankie wanted a kiss from the chef too!

5 thoughts on “Costes Restaurant, Budapest, 3/31/16

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