A breath of fresh air is what this place needed and that's just what it got. The freshly redecorated old haunt of Fausto has been designed to be much more welcoming and homely than its predecessor in the same place. Guests once used to waiters constantly hovering behind their backs, great white tablecloths and fine Italian dining can now finally sit back and relax and enjoy Italian hospitality like it is meant to be.

The tables, the chalk boards and the art on the walls all emit a much warmer feeling than before and the food and service is just as good. I was happy to find one of my favourite waiters from Arcade in the establishment and he soon recommended a fine bottle of wine to us, a '05 Sicilian Nero D'Avola Cabernet worth every penny of its 3500 asking price. Altogether the food is also far more reasonably priced than before: hors d'oeuvres around 1500-2300 and main courses between 2000-4000.

In places like this one usually picks from the daily offering which had a soup 2 or three appetizers and main courses and a dessert offering. The duck carpaccio with ruccola and a mustard dressing was fantastic, the lovely taste of the duck coming across very intensively. The king prawns with radicchio looked relatively simple, but the prawns were fresh and well prepared. Our main courses of duck and asparagus risotto and roast baby duck with plum sauce were simply duckalicious.

Many times I have said that preparing a good risotto is one of the hardest things to achieve, because it's not easy to get the right consistency of the rice, whether its made al dente (has a bite to it) or boiled soft and how the ingredients harmonize. Trattoria Toscana lead in the race so far with its parmesan and asparagus risotto, but there is a new contender to the best risotto title. It was a risotto with asparagus tips and duck meat prepared in a darker meat broth that coloured the rice. Simply perfect. The roast duck was also very good and the sauce complimented the animal well.

To round off the dinner we were offered some unique grappa made of different grape varieties and kept in different casks. Fore example the grappa kept in sherry cask was a wonderful golden colour and had a very smooth taste. The other grappa was much harder hitting and capped off the dinner perfectly.

I am all for simple, good Italian food, where the ingredients always make the difference. In this case Fausto makes an effort to gather the best from the markets. This more simpler approach to Italian cooking I feel is closer to Hungarian hearts and minds and also allows mere mortals to savour the cooking of one of the top Italian chefs in the country.

Overall 8/10

Osteria Fausto
1072 Dohány u. 5

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