PAULANER - THE USUAL
It's high time I evaluated some of the more accessible places in the city. Ones that you visit on a quick business lunch or where you have your daily menu or lunch break.
My regular is Paulaner, the Bavarian mammoth of a restaurant in MOM Park. I've been eating there for a number of years now would call it my usual place for having a relatively quick lunch.
Paulaner is a strange breed of restaurant. It's actually more like a "food factory" with hundreds of seats, benches, tables, elevated tables set in many different dining areas spread out on hundreds of square meters. The interesting thing is that this whale of a place is always packed full at lunch and dinnertime and sometimes even in between.
I found a relatively simple reason for this. The fact is that there are not many restaurants in the neighborhood that are so accessible, can fit so many people, have good parking possibilities and a relatively good ambience. Not only the 12th or the 11th district, but even Buda itself is a bit short on these types of restaurants.
So we're left with good old Paulaner. The service is usually very efficient simply due to the fact that they have the highest number of waiting staff per sqm in the city. A usual occurence is that one waiter picks up your order, the other delivers your drinks, yet another your food and a fourth one your bill. Although this may seem confusing, the system actually works quite well and there aren't many hiccups or mistakes made.
Top picks include the cheese soup with beer the roast half duck, the famous pork knuckle, the sausages and the sweet Kaiserschmarn to wash it all down with. You really can't go wrong with these things, but eating through a soup, a main course and a dessert is test for the greatest eaters, because individual portions are fit for a smaller family of 5.
That's the same issue I have with the menus. By the time you get to the end of a three course menu, you're wasted and always have to take the dessert in a doggy bag. Here's what happened when I tried to order less food once (as I was on a diet)
Me: Can I have the menu please?
Me: Thanks. But please ask the chef to make a half portion out of everything, it's simply too much for me.
Waiter: I'm afraid that's not possible sir.
Me: Don't worry, I'll pay the full price of the menu.
Waiter: Let me talk to the chef. (Leaves and comes back in couple of minutes)
Waiter: I'm sorry sir, but the Chef refused to make half a portion, it's simply not possible.
Me: Well in that case, I might try the restaurant next door.
The quality of the famous menu and also the courses on the "weekly offer" are highly variable in nature. Today's Cevapcica with ajvar with a side dish of cucumber and tomato salad was very good indeed, although doesn't even come close to the real deal at Castro Bistro in Madách tér.
Yesterday's fried fish with remoulade sauce and puree was all plastic and dry. Last week's duck liver with lecsó was an absolute disaster: semi raw, chewy and ultra greasy. Many times I simply get a stomachache from the oil they use or the ingredients or maybe the size of the portions. A constant lingering taste is the wierd garlic they put into everything - more like a stale paste than fresh slivers.
So all in all stick with stuff you know they do well, don't experiment, leave out the fish, have big pretzels and beer and you can't go wrong.
Overall: between 4 and 5/10, depending on the day
Paulaner Sörház, MOM Park