Puder Barszinhaz, on Raday 8, Budapest
Quick summary: Good food, good service, trendy, good prices, great atmosphere, wonderful décor!
We ate here a couple of times—dinner and lunch—and were very impressed. This bar-restaurant was also on ‘our’ street (Raday utca) and we walked past a few times—so, what drew us in? The menu painted on the window looked good, but mostly….the interior looked intriguing. It’s an unusual artistic interior—everything but the floor, basically, is painted in all sorts of interesting and crazy designs and other art forms hang from the high ceilings, or grace the walls. So, it’s functioning as an art gallery as well as a bar-restaurant. We discovered they encourage exhibitions of emerging artists and also host other cultural events, such as theater, music, movement and literary events. Apparently many places in Budapest are mixing cultural services and gastronomy, like here.
Turns out it’s trendy in another way too, as it’s called a Ruin Bar. Ruin bars were a new trend that started to emerge in Budapest about 15 years ago and have become increasingly popular with both locals and tourists. They are called Ruin Bars, as their development has saved that building from ruin (being abandoned or demolished to build modern high-rise apartment blocks, office buildings or shopping centers). The emergence of ruin bars has saved many of these old buildings in Budapest, preserving the beautiful architecture and turning them into trendy places. Each of these Ruin Bars is unique, as most of them are decorated by local artists, creating a special character and ambience.
The concept seems to have caught on in other big cities in Europe recently as ruin bars have opened in Berlin and Zurich as well.
So, what did we eat there?
One night, our feast consisted of 2 cream strawberry soups, 2 bowls of gazpacho, 2 butterfish on black risotto with asparagus, and 2 pork steaks with polenta and vanilla sauce, plus bottled water and a large bottle of Hungarian rose wine. All that for a total of 17,960 Hungarian forint (about US$64.60). The dishes were all really tasty and nicely served. Nath and Sonya really wanted to try the strawberry soup, as we’d read that is a Hungarian speciality. Their verdict: unusual, but lovely. Another famous Hungarian soup is cold Sour Cherry Soup, which they tried another night at another place.
For lunch, Rod had the cold strawberry soup, smoked trout and salad; I had goat cheese salad, which was a slice of warm goat cheese on a bit of salad, with a few baby potatoes, land lightly-cooked diced apples with a little chopped chilli sprinkled on top. An unusual combination but delicious. Nath and Sonya had the same goat cheese salad, and a big bowl of goulash soup.