CAFÉ DÉRYNÉ - OLD PLACE, NEW VIBE

Cafe Déryné - Valami új vibrál egy régi helyen


Hírből hallottam, hogy az ötvenes évek nosztalgia-kávéháza, a Déryné helyén jó kis bisztró tanyázik immár. Jártam arrafelé néhányszor, és nemigen tapasztaltam, hogy a külső alapjában megváltozott volna. Maradt a klasszikus homlokzati forma, s nekem úgy tűnt, mintha a régi szép időkben láttam volna már azokat a vörös napernyőket is kint, az utcán.

Az átalakítás inkább belül érződik. Az elvégzett munka akár tanulmány is lehetne éles kontrasztokról, na meg arról, miképp esik egy tulajdonos túlzásokba. Addig rendben van a dolog, hogy minden darabka szinte szaglik a befektetett - és nem is éppen rossz ízléssel befektetett - pénztől, de nekem a kevesebb több lett volna. A baloldalt kávéházi stílusú asztalok fedik le, régi időket idézve; a jobboldalt viszont egy hatalmas bárrész, benne villódzó LCD tévékkel. Innen tovább egy - a Klassz belső terére hajazó -részlegbe jutunk, amelyet retro-tapéták díszítenek, s itt van a nyílt konyha is, ahonnan az étkezőszalon felé vezet az út. Ez utóbbi egy Ambercrombie & Fitch üzlet emlékét idézte föl bennem (bőr karosszékek, sötét színű faberendezés, nyitott kandalló). Mi a bár túloldalán ebédeltünk, a dohányosoknak fenntartott részen, amely a maga hatalmas, fakeretes tükreivel, bőrbevonatú, fából készült székeivel a leginkább emlékeztetett egy klasszikus bisztróra. Az asztalon azonban, ellentétesen a bisztró-hagyományokkal, első osztályú evőeszközöket és szépen vasalt terítőket találtunk.

Nem tudtuk eldönteni, kinek is készült ez a hely? Túl sok embernek akar megfelelni egyszerre; túl sok izével. Példa: minthogy a kávéházi rész telve van, kapunk a szomszéd asztalhoz egy rakás olyan embert, aki csak capuccinot iszik és egyfolytában füstöl, noha épp olyan elegáns, étkezéshez való terítés fekszik előttük, mint nálunk. Közben megjelenik egy csomó idősebb úr és hölgy: láthatóan nem értik, mi lett az ő kedvenc, régi kávéházukkal. Néhányan leülnek, s kérnek egy kávét, hozzá linzert. Jönnek aztán turisták, leülnek a bárpulthoz; követik őket a „trendi” népek, akik viszont az étkezőszalon felé tájékozódnak. Mondhatnánk, mindenki megkapja, amire vágyik, de az én szememben ez némi szétszórtságot sugall inkább. Kérdezem: ez étterem? Nem mondanám, mert nincs tizenöt asztalnál több. Kávéház? Igen, leginkább az a maga hatalmas bárpultjával, kávé- és süteménykínálatával a „bőrös” részlegben. Bár? Lehet az is, habár csak ülni lehet a pultnál, állni nem, minthogy ezt is étkezésre találták ki.

Bármi legyen is, biztos, hogy rettentő sok pénzt költöttek rá, s a részletekből visszaköszönő gondosság meg a jó ízlés mindenütt jelen van. A hangszóróktól a lámpaernyőkig, a bárpultba vésett Déryné-címertől az imént említett kandallóig, az étkészlettől az evőeszközökig, s a lista folytatható. Történetesen tudom, hogy a tulajdonos New York legjobb bisztróit és kávéházait járta végig fényképezőgéppel a kezében – s ez meg is látszik a műintézeten.

Ami hiányzik: az egy jó séf és egy jó pincér. A probléma ugyanaz, mint minden ilyen helyen. Az enteriőr tíz az egyhez arányban gyűri le a kosztot és a kiszolgálást. Kezdjük az étlappal és a rendeléseinkkel. Az étlap olyan, mint amilyennek lennie kell egy tökéletes bisztróban. Nincsen rajta 15 ételnél több, s mindez egyetlen, vastag kartonlapon olvasható. Ilyesmi végett könyörögtem egy csomó étteremtulajdonosnak: ne kínáljatok százfélét, inkább csak tízet, de az mind legyen jó! Más kérdés, hogy az említett tizenötből három aznap nem volt megrendelhető – épp az a három, amire szemet vetettünk. Nevezetesen: a sütőtöklevesre, a borjúpaprikásra és valami pennére. Nehéz a kevésből a jót kihozni, ha az étlapon látható ételek egyharmada elpárolgott.

Ilyenformán a spenótos, ricottás erőlevessel kezdünk, mellé gyömbéres, rákos-csilis bruschettát kérünk. Az erőlevesnek megvan az ereje és az íze is, a ravioli pedig gyöngéden, kellemesen egészíti ki a lét. A bruschetta inkább könnyű pirítósra emlékeztet, s noha a kenyér jó, melegíthették volna kicsit tovább is. A rákokat azonban túlfőzték, s olyan tömegű friss, zöldcsili-darabokat zúdítottak rájuk az olivaolaj és a fokhagyma társaságában, hogy a számban tűzcsóva keletkezett és az ízlelőbimbóim egy időre lebénultak. Remélem, a séf nem szándékkal csinálta. Mennyiségre nézve a négy pirítós elegendőnek bizonyult, s miután kiment belőlem a csili-túladagolás, kitunkoltam az olajat a kenyér maradékával.

Pár szót a rettenetes kiszolgálásról. Pincérünk elsőként arról tájékoztatott bennünket, hogy a kiválasztott négy étel közül kettő nincsen. Fejrázáson kívül egyéb vigasszal nem szolgált. Aztán megkérdeztük, mit takar a „napi rizottó” elnevezés? A válasza ez volt: „azt hiszem, csirkés rizottó”. Ez nem hangozott nagyon bíztatóan, mivel az eredeti rizottóreceptekben olyan fűszerek neve bukkan fel pl. mint a sáfrány; aztán van bennük jó adag sajt, például lehet mascarpone és parmezán, minőségi alaplé, sok zöldség, néha gomba, olykor sütőtök. A „csirkerizottó” ezek alapján nem tűnt igazán eredetinek, ezért afelől kezdtünk tudakozódni, mik azok a „különféle tészták” az étlapon? Kaphatnánk egy pennét? - kérdeztük, s a pincér gyorsan válaszolt: „Sajnálom, penne nincsen”. Na, ezzel se volt szerencsénk. Rendeltünk tehát főétel gyanánt egy egyszerű spagettit bazsalikommal s paradicsommal egyfelől; illetve - egy érdekesen hangzó -homárhússal töltött, rákszószos ravioli arragosta-t másfelől.
A spaghetti túlfőtt tagliolini képében jelent meg, de a szósz rendben volt, s a reszelt parmezán is a tetején. A homáros ravioliban a töltelék kicsit lisztesen pépesre sikeredett, nem ejtett meg, amiképpen az elsózott rákszósz se. Ha jóindulatú akarnék lenni, azt mondanám: étkeink az átlagos mércét ütötték meg.

Mindezekután, dacára az előzményeknek, egy gyors desszert mellett döntöttünk. Megkérdeztem, mennyit kell várnunk egy házi túrógombócra, a válasz az volt, hogy öt percnél nem többet. Tizenöt perc múltán némi rángás fogott el, huszonöt perc múltán vettük a kabátunkat és kértük a számlát. Már majdnem az ajtónál voltunk, amikor az üzletvezető megjelent a desszerttel, melyet már be is csomagoltak. Szabadkozott, mondván: frissen készült.

Tudom ugyan, hogy idő kell a dolgok „összerendezéséhez”, ahhoz, hogy minden normálisan működjék, minthogy azonban a Déryné tulajdonosa az ország egyik legtehetségesebb, fiatal TV-producere, neki mindenkinél inkább tudnia kellene, hogy az éttermi üzletág olyan, mint egy TV-show: kétszer nem kapsz lehetőséget. Ha a show elsőre bedöglik, átteszik más időpontra vagy másnapra, de ez ugye nem siker.

Kedves leszek (a) Dérynéhez ezúttal, s azt mondom, hogy amit láttunk, az csak próbafelvétel volt; az igazi csak ezután jön.

Café Déryné
Összesen 5,5 / 10
http://www.cafederyne.hu/

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Rumours had it that the 1950s nostalgia coffeehouse, Déryné recently reopened as a stylish bistro. I passed it by a couple of times noticing that the exterior didn’t get much of a major makeover – it kept its classic typeface and I seem to recall seeing the scarlet red sun shades in front of the building as well in the old days.

The makeover can rather be seen on the inside, which is an interesting study of contrasting design where the owner seems to have gone slightly overboard. Ok, every segment of it oozes plenty of money and let’s say good taste, but there are a bit too many segments inside for my taste. First of all the coffee-house style tables on the left reminiscent of old times, then the huge bar with flashing LCD TVs on the right, leading on to the Klassz look-alike section with colourful retro tapestry and open kitchen, which then leads us on to the lounge area resembling something out of an Ambercrombie & Fitch store (leather armchairs, dark wood, an open fireplace). We had lunch on the other side of the bar in the smoking section, which looked the most like a classic bistro, with huge wooden framed mirrors and leather and wood chairs. Contrary to a more informal bistro feel the table has been set with premium cutlery and finely ironed tableware.

We really can’t decide what this place is trying to be, we think it’s trying to be too many things to too many people at the same time. Example: as there are no more seats in the café section we get a bunch of people seated next to us having cappuccinos and chain smoking even though they are sitting at the same elegant table set for dining. There is a constant flow of elderly people coming in not understanding what happened to their favourite old café. Some take a seat and ask for a coffee and a linzer. Then there are the touristy types sitting at the bar and then the trendy crowd opting for the lounge section. Ok, you could say everyone gets what they are looking for but I see it more of lack of focus than anything else. The questions continue to pop into my head: is it a restaurant? I wouldn’t say so, because there are about 10 tables altogether. Is it café? It’s more of a café lounge than anything else due to the large bar with the pastry and coffee offering and the leather lounge section. Is it a bar? Could be. Although the bar itself is huge, you can only sit on one side and not stand as the section is elevated for dining.

Whatever it is, a lot of money has been poured into it and the sense of detail and good taste is evident in every nook and cranny. From the speakers, to the lampshades, to the logo etched into the bar counter, to the previously mentioned fireplace, the tableware and cutlery and list goes on and on. I happen to know that the owner spent months photographing and researching the top bistros and cafés in New York and other parts of the world and it really shows on this place.

The only thing missing is a good chef and a good waiter. Once again the same old problem as in all of these places: the design overpowers the cooking and the service 10:1. Let’s start off with the menu and our orders. The menu is as it is supposed to be – as close as you can get to a perfect bistro menu - with about 15 dishes altogether set out on a thick, one page menu card. That’s what I have always preached to most restaurateurs: instead of having hundreds of things on the menu do ten dishes, but do them really well! Out of the 15 dishes on the menu about 3 were missing that day, interestingly enough they were the ones we wanted to have: the pumpkin soup, the veal paprikas with galuska and some penne. Do a couple, but do them well. Hard to achieve if a fifth of your menu is missing completely.

So we start off with the consommé with spinach and ricotta ravioli and the ginger and chili prawn bruschettas. The consommé has strength and taste to it while the ravioli is a welcome, subtle and light addition to the broth. The bruschetta is closer to a light toast and could have been heated more, but the quality of the bread is pretty good. The prawns on the other hand are slightly overcooked and inundated with fresh, spicy green chili pieces, olive oil and garlic. In fact the chilis are so strong that my mouth explodes with fire and my taste buds are temporarily rendered useless. I hope that wasn’t the intention of the chef. The four pieces of toast are more than enough in terms of quantity and once I get rid of the excess chilis I wipe out the olive oil with the toasted bread.

A couple of words on our horrible waiting staff. Our waiter first informed us that 2 out of the chosen 4 dishes were missing, shook his head and offered no help in exchange. We then asked about the risotto of the day. He said „he thinks its chicken risotto”, which didn’t sound too good as original risotto recipes contain spices like saffron, various types of cheese including healthy amounts of mascarpone and parmesan, loads of good quality stock and some veggies like pumpkin for example. All in all „chicken risotto” didn’t sound too authentic to us. We then asked about the „various types of pasta” on the menu. „So can we ask for penne”? we inquired. „Sorry, no penne” came the swift reply. No luck there.

So we quickly ordered uncomplicated spaghetti with tomatoes and basil as one main course and the intriguing ravioli aragosta with lobster meat and crab sauce as the other. The spaghetti came out as overcooked tagliolini, but the sugo on it was ok with some shaved parmesan on top. The lobster ravioli was filled with a creamy, slightly doughy langustine filling which didn’t blow my mind at all, nor did the rather salty crab sauce poured on top. The food was average at best.

We decided to go for a quick dessert even though we weren’t amazed by our dishes. I asked how long it took to make the home made túrógombóc and asked for it as they said it took no longer than 5 minutes. After 15 minutes I was starting to get fidgety and after 25 minutes we took our coats and asked for the bill. We were nearly out the door when the manager arrived with the dessert wrapped in a paper bag. He excused himself and told us that it was made a la minute.

I know you have to give some time for these things to come together and start operating in a normal way but as the owner should know (as he is one of the most talented young TV producers in Hungary) that in the restaurant business – similar to a TV show – you rarely get a second chance. Once your show flops on the opening night it might get a chance in a different time slot or a different day but overall it can’t be deemed a success.

I’ll be kind to Déryné this time and say that this was only the trailer or the pilot we saw and the best is yet to come.

Overall: 5,5\10
http://www.cafederyne.hu/

20 megjegyzés:

stel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
food police said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ian said...

While visiting Budapest, my colleagues and I discovered this lounge/restaurant on our first night. We were amazed at the quality of food, service, and spectacular music and ambience. Deryne is a superb dining experience, whether for dinner or just for dessert or cocktails. There should be more places like this in southern California. Cheers to good dining!

tom said...

Deryne

I had one of my greatest evenings my life's tonight, sitting by the fireside, on a huge leather couch, right in front of the large fireplace at Deryne, sipping on margaritas and listening to a live dj (Tina, we learned)..
Simply the best of town. I don't know of a place like this at home...

Tom
Paris, France

tom said...

Deryne

I had one of my greatest evenings my life's tonight, sitting by the fireside, on a huge leather couch, right in front of the large fireplace at Deryne, sipping on margaritas and listening to a live dj (Tina, we learned)..
Simply the best of town. I don't know of a place like this at home...

Tom
Paris, France

steel said...

Dear food police (?), ian, tom and the Déryné PR team,

I'm really happy for your great experiences at déryné! Interesting that you time the arrival of the food to your table (5, 8 minutes), that you're aware of the basement club even though you're having dinner upstairs and that you have time for "after dinner cocktails" at the bar and ask the bartender where he worked previously. Come on now...haven't you heard of this this place before somewhere or maybe even BEEN to it?

I'm also happy that you received the fresh bread basket with herb butter which we weren't offered at all upon our visit.

Don't panic - it's a great looking place with a lot of potential. Just give it a bit more time. I promise I'll come by within a couple of months again and try the freshly made pumpkin cream soup and the world class cocktails.

Hapci said...

Café Déryné is fantastic! Every dish ordered by us arrived at our table within a minute featuring the best taste ever.
It would be nice to find at least one more restaurant like this anywhere in the world.
Viccet félretéve, steel, az első hozzászólást a tiédnek véltem. Egészen picit erőszakos ez a médiatulaj és a gépezete...

steel said...

Because there has been some confusion among my readers as to who wrote the first comment under the alias "food police" (it wasn't me) I have decided to delete the comment.

I see no problem adding comments under your real name or any other alias, but abusing mine goes beyond blogging ethics - whatever that may mean.

Cafe Deryne said...

Dear Steel, Ian, Tom and friends

Thank you all for the comments. Cafe Deryne has been an institution in the 20s and 30s run by the August family, serving cafe and cakes in the aternoon and cooking "halaszle" and great dishes in the evening, for even take away. They had a long marble bar and a fire place in the back. Lots of flowers in the front and even books to read.

My family strives to bring the old tradition alive in a part of town where not much development has been going on until recently. Deryne has been born out of love, not business. We opened just 3 days ago, and it will be a long long way before everyhting will be near the perfection that we hope to achieve. Till than, write lots of comments, and we'll do our best to listen well and become every patron's favorite corner bistro in the district.

the management of
Cafe Deryne

Buditime szerkesztőség said...

Hi. I have borrowed your thoughts on Déryne, becuase they describe my feelings far better, than I ever could. If you speak Hungarian, you might be able to read my post on the bistro here: http://misimisi.com/2007/12/31/deryne-kavezo-bisztro-bar-kovacs-kristofnak/
Excellent observations, keep up the great job. Hungarian restaurants need you.
best regards:
Mish

steel said...

Dear Café Déryné management,

I appreciate your honesty and hope that you appreciate mine in return.

My writing is aimed at improving the overall standards of Budapest dining, where usually image is far more important than substance and cooking.

I hope that after the wonderful job you have done with the interior you have the energy to do the same with the food and service.

Keep up the good work and have a great 2008!

Cafe Deryne said...

Dear Steel and friends,

thank you again for posting comments about Deryne. We ourselves are also working on improving the overall standard of service in Hungarian dining institutions.

We are over the easy part: open every day at 7.30, with fresh international papers, house pastries, fresh orange juice, free wifi and plugs under each seat.

A cheap lunch menu that is prepared fresh in front of your eyes. Piano in the afternoon for your cup of coffee. Jazz concerts in the evenings, daily chef's specials and a quiter firside corner to talk after dinner.

Now comes the hard part. Service service service. I cannot tell you how hard it is to find the right guys that deliver the friendly yet professional service people in some cultures find basic.

But trust us, we are on it and we will not sit back and relax, till we do. Perhaps for years...

Happy 2008!

the management of
Deryne

LuxuryHotelsBudapest.com said...

Hey Steel, I'm glad to discover your blog and this post, which is a case study for marketers and companies learning about communication in blogs. I was totally shocked to see really authentic looking (multiple) self-pushing comments and also the official remarks of the management that basically lack the real reflection on your comments. Funny. (Unlike in Misimisi's blog, where the management had more open ears.) Anyway, I knew the old Déryné and did_not_like_it at all, but peeping through the window of the new one was inviting! Let's hope that the new style will get more polished and harmonized soon. I want to pay a visit again this May when we are back at home and make some video presentation - if it's OK with Kristóf. :)

Anyway, we are in New Orleans until about Aug, so if you want to have a gastro tour, I'm happy to ask around for more info (here's what we found so far the best: http://neworleansblog.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/mi-a-titka-a-vilag-legjobb-ettermenek/)
Anna

LuxuryHotelsBudapest.com said...

sorry, I forgot the follow-up option.

Cafe Deryne said...

Dear Anna,

we did not go into detailed reflections on Steel's comments because we worked on improving our service in the critical areas in the real world instead. It wouldn't have been very efficient to comment on observations where we have already made the necessary changes. I hope that the results are tangible more and more each day.

Hope to see you soon!

Kristof

Cheflaszlo said...

amazing place! so far I had just an expresso and a dessert +traubi szoda, but this place is big time AMAZING! will come back for dinner, the menu ded not look very good. But this place is extra super. What's wrong with the wait staff? Nothing! They were extra nice too!!!!

Zweig said...

We just went to Deryne on Tuesday and the food was excellent, so I think they did find a new chef. It was amazing to see the cooking be done right in the middle of the restaurant. The chef seems to be a real personality (although maybe a bit on the grumpy side), the food was really, really good and very reasonably priced. The four people of us had a huge Wiener Schnitzel, a salmon lasagna (although they forgot to mention on the menu that it was a SALMON lasagna, actually. Came as a surprise), a huge salad and a nice creamy corn soup served with bread, and three slices of cake and beverages and all for only 15 kFt. It is definitely our new place to go to.

Rob said...

After all the hype about this bistro my wife and I decided to give it ago.
My first disapointment was the matre d whom insisted on continuing his mobile telephone conversation, while we waited to be welcomed and seated. Eventually, we were shown to our seats which, I would call very cramped conditions, the guests that arrived at the table next to us, struggled to get by our table with out knocking it several times.
When the food arrived my wife had received the wrong order and we promptly pointed it out to the waiter. He insisted on asking if we were sure we had not ordered the meat dish that lay in front of us over the fish dish. Finally he took it away and 10 minutes later we received our order. The presentation was nice and the flavours were pleasant, however the food was only just warm. Overall for our first visit to this very popular establishment, I can say we were most disapointed and will not make the same mistake twice.

Isadora said...

We've spent a very enjoyable evening with dinner at Deryne with my daughter. The ambiance, menu, wine, food was just fine along with the table setting. Even the service was promising - but after the initial onslaught the help vanishes :) We've made friends with the couple at the next table as we competed for the attention of the staff who was busily courting the newly arrived guests by then and deemed us pase'. We did get a bread basket and herbed butter with was truly wonderful. Eventually we even got our bill and overall chalked it up to another Hungarian customer service experience in a fine restaurant with potential.

Anonymous said...

We are overseas visitors, and we went to Cafe Deryne with some old friends on a Sunday afternoon for a chat, a cafe and some snacks and cakes. The cafe was not full, and we got a table without any problem. The decor struck me as confusing, there were mixed stylistic elements jumbled together, the spaces were messy and ill-defined, and the atmosphere was noisy and not really suitable for a quiet conversation. The reception by a young blonde woman with a ponytail was very friendly and professional. However, the service was disorganised and below par. Several different waiters inquired at several different times about our order, some orders were simply forgotten, others were brought up to 40 minutes later, drinks and food arrived without any coordination. Several items were simply not available, and it took 15 minutes or more to be informed of this. Waiters were not communicating with each other, and seemingly no-one took any responsibility for looking after our table. Even getting the bill took a real effort, we had to ask three different waiters and had to wait half an hour before we were given our bill. Part of the confusion seems to be the result of an ill-conceived attempt to introduce a US-style table service where drink waiters, food waiters and bus-boys work as a team. In this instance, it was an abysmal failure: there was no coordination, and in the end, nobody took any responsibility for delivering good service. The quality of the food was average to passable.

It is hard to escape the impression that in this establishment no-one is really an expert in running a restaurant, and this includes the owner and the managers as well. The staff are generally hard-working and eager to please (see below!!), but good will alone is not enough. It is interesting that the Cafe Deryne seems to do rather very well despite offering a questionable quality product at rather high prices. My friends tell me that this is not so surprising in Budapest today. The clientele of the Deryne Cafe is largely composed of the kind of unsophisticated but well-off ‘nouveau rich’ Hungarians for whom being seen in the right places is far more important than the quality of what they receive.

And a brief afterword. A few weeks later we happened to meet one of the waiters from the Deryne who told us about the Dickensian employment conditions in the cafe. Apparently some of the staff work there illegally, without being given a contract or being properly registered. Many others work 13-14 hour shifts, with no breaks. The management treats these mostly young workers in an excessively authoritarian and exploitative fashion. For example, they can be charged on the spot cash fines (deduction from their wages!!) for even the smallest omission. Needless to say, these conditions represent a gross violation of applicable European and Hungarian employment regulations. It will be interesting to see what happens when somebody decides to take the high-profile owners of Deryne Cafe to court for their gross disregard of European employment laws and regulations...