And the first disciple came and said: Thou art a great restaurateur, but I cannot stand by thee forever and must use some of my creative genius to start up a place where humble people come and eat great food. And Mr Rudits said (probably): go my friend and start thee up thy restaurant and spread the word that thy cuisine can change people's attitudes towards food in Budapest and can influence many a skeptic food writer.

And so the disciple found a place where with a minimal investment into the surroundings, the furniture, the kitchen and the environment he could start to cook and call everything there his own. And so the people came and flocked to this temple of cuisine and all wanted to taste the workings of this chef....

And so I arrived at Csalogány 26, which is the restaurant of the ex-chef of Lou Lou looking for some of that magic that was responsible for the name and the niveau of Budapest's haute cuisine esablishment. I thought it will be pretentious, but I thought that some of the homeliness of its predecessor (CSalogány étterem) will likely rub off on the new owner. I also thought that the food will be expensive and the service snobbish. Yet I found that the place has a distinct atmosphere which is far more laid back than I imagined it to be, yet still lacking something. The tile floor for one is cold, the furniture is average to be polite and the decor is boring. The whole thing looks like it was created with little money, little time and little effort on the part of the interior designer. Boring sums it up nicely.

But the place really is very good, so we can't end on the "boring" note. To go onto the food offering very quickly I have to say that the 1500 that they ask for the lunch menu is an extreme bargain of you consider they ask more for a crappy chicken salad for more money at MOM Park's own Café Blue. Too bad most restaurateurs want to get rich wuick without providing any quality whatsoever. In this aspect Csalogány follows in the steps of Klassz on Andrássy út offering similar fantastic quality for an unbeatable price. We'll see if this covers off the money spent on interior design in Klassz's case, but it surely doesn't have to cover the minimal change done to the interior of Csalogány as there was not much effort put into it as I stated previously.

On to the orders... we start off with a great, cooling Takler Rosé and some water ordered from our knowledgeable, old-school waiter, who soon brings out a fantastic looking bread basket to our table along with the drinks. The basket itself is a pleasure to the eye and the bread is of higher quality, as well than what I've come across in many places in the city. We order a chilled kohlrabi cream soup and some paté. The soup could be a bit more thick in its consistency, it seems more like a chilled vegatable beverage (V8?) at the moment, but we have no problems with it taste-wise and it is well received on a hot day such as this one.

The main course is the absolute tops of the day for me, because I order chicken liver with red wine sauce, onions, carrots and some baked potatoes on the side. I usually go for something out of the ordinary in places such as this , because cooking something as hard as liver is the real test of a restaurant of this caliber. It seems easy, but it's not, getting the perfect consistency and the righ level of "chewiness" like in case of a steak is very hard to achieve with a piece of liver. You actually only need a couple of minutes to make it right. Now this liver was perfect and the sauce was also close to perfection.

My partners in crime had a good looking pork chop with some carrot puree on the side. Interesting thing about the carrot puree that it was not on the menu originally but when asked about the dish the waiter said: "oh, we make sure the side dish fits the meat, like a carrot puree in this case, don't worry". That's a pretty self-assured statement, as if carrot puree was MADE for this dish and the chef was pretty sure that everyone liked it. In any case, we liked it a lot.

The time came for some coffee, another glass of wine and some desserts of which I had heard some good things about. Upon my arrival to the establishment I met a fellow reader of my blog, Spin Doctor V, who was kind enough to tell me that he is one of the few readers out there and that I should pick the milk rice for dessert. Which I did, and I wasn't half disappointed with the result!

A great chance comes today for a back to back evaluation of the food at Csalogány, this time as a dinner. Stay tuned for the experiences.

Csalogány 26 étterem
Address the same as above
Overall: 7,5/10