My summer edition comes from Balatonalmádi, where we had the pleasure of experiencing the cuisine of the Almádi Yacht club or Kikötő restaurant as it is called. It was the second time I visited and I definitely wanted to revisit the place as it is one of the only good non-csárda’s on the northern shores of the Balaton. Not that I have anything against csárda’s of course – who wouldn’t kill for a great halászlé or rántott fogas - only the quality overall has a way to go.

Let me make a little Csárda detour here. I usually visit the Csárdas from Alsóörs to Akali and I can rate every single one of them. The top score in my mind goes to Lovas Csárda in Alsóörs where you have the pleasure of seeing loads of far animals, a great view, eating their own house made körözött from ewe cheese and the super pince pörkölt. Not to mention the fact that they also have their own Elderflower of Bodza syrup. Bot Lovas itself only gets a 5 or 6 at best. There’s a lot of second places including Dobó Csárda in Csopak, or Oázis in Tihany or Lucifer and Zsindelyes in Udvari. But all these are probably worthy of a 4 or 5 score. The only exception being if the harcsapaprikás in Dobó is made fresh or the fish soup in Oázis is made fresh or the pork knuckle in Zsindelyes is á la minuite, then....who knows what sort of score they would get. But that’s Balaton for you, you never know what to expect. For example I’m sitting here on a 40 degree day in June and I can’t even buy a daily paper in our village because it only opens in July. SAD.

So back to my story. I gather that the Almádi Yacht Klub is now under the ownership of Kristof Nobilis who is a wealthy Hungarian internet and other enterpreneur and I guess Kristóf also likes his food because he has hired some pretty good chefs to work for him at the club. The restaurant is just below the bridge that spans the road from the hotel to the beach and it is a quite elegant and formal place, very unlike most of the restaurants around here. It has a nice little terrace with candlelit tables and serves breakfast lunch and dinner obviously in season. Luckily for us season started in June already for the yachting community. We receive a menu in the shape of an old book, practical to read while the other make their minds up or before the waiter takes orders or if you don’t want to have a converation with the people you are with.

Onto the food. The food is good, but not great. One would say it has potential.

We receive a small bowl of julienne carrots and cucumbers with some garlicky yoghurt – fresh and tasty and a good hunger satisifier on the short term.

The húsleves is a very thick broth full of meat and veggies but unfortunately lacks any taste whatsoever. My starter is a gambas pil pil (as we’re by the „sea”), which falls into the has potential category. It arrives in a clay pot as it should, the amount of shrimps is encouraging and so is the freshly chopped parsley on top. Almost authentic save for the seasoning which is definitely too salty and seems to have come from a pil pil quick fix. Tasty nonetheless.

Also tasty is the smooth and runny foie gras with fresh grapes, seared apples and a sweet honey like reduction.

The layout of the spring rolls also look very enticing and encouraging to us – they are finger food essentially and should be served as such: the size of a finger. These are ideal in size unlike many of their chinese restaurant counterparts with thick and oily dough and stuffed with cabbage. This one wasn’t stuffed with cabbage but with some carrot puree kind of mash which didn’t feel authentic at all. Also, the dough could have been fried crispier. So little hiccups on the starter side, but essentially a good start.

We ask for the lamb chops with rosemary potatoes done medium, pink. The lamb is tender and young, but unfortunately overdone, there are slabs of roast garlic sitting next to it. The rosemary potatoes were boiled and then roasted with some herbs but we can’t feel the rosemary really on either the meat or the potatoes.

The other helping of duck with sweet cabbage is also a good try, but the meat os also overdone here. Our wine accompaniment was a 2002 Pinot Noir from Tiffán, which was dead by the time they opened the bottle. My fault for not noticing while drinking it (even though I was a bit drunk by then) as the chill hid the flavour and we noticed only midway when the wine came to about room temperature. And also their fault for serving it.

So the Yacht Klub seems promising, and even though it is a fine try at a more formal dining experience around the lake, it still has miles to go.

Almádi Yacht Klub
Overall: 5,5/10

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