And yet another Budapest discovery

One of the many reasons I like living in this city is its discoverability. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I find somewhere new or I hear about somewhere new or I’m taken somewhere new. Some weeks ago, having failed to secure entry to the Alumni etterem beside the College of Commerce, BA and myself found ourselves wandering the streets looking for a cup of coffee. We happened upon Bedő Ház, a lovely Art Nouveau café on Honvéd utca just off Szabadság tér and around the corner from Kossuth Lajos tér. The entire building (apartments currently for sale upstairs)  was designed by Emil Vidor and built in 1903 and is now a fitting showcase for Hungarian Secessionist interiors. It’s heaving with all sorts of furniture, china, paintings, posters, and other items from the period.

It’s as if all your great-aunts got together and put all their furniture in the one room. Having coffee there is like stepping back in time. A wonderful experience. And, if the mood takes you, you can buy tickets for the museum and explore the maze of other stuff on display. ‘Twas enough for me to take a wander downstairs to the loo and see the anteroom.

There are some curious font-like things hanging on the wall and the second time I visited, I polled the women to see what they thought they were. Urinals? Holy Water fonts? or just ordinary water fonts?  Any sort of hybrid is simply unimaginable.

As you sit quietly (it’s certainly a place that evokes a sense of gentility – more of a polite chuckle than a raucous belly laugh) enjoying the surrounds, your eye catches more and more detail. The hazi limonade is tangy and the coffee isn’t half bad. I can’t say I’ve tried the pastries, but they look good enough to eat. Well worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity and yet another place to add to your ‘what do to with visitors’ list. And when you’re outside, look up and check out the sunflower detail in the ironwork on the balcony. Am coveting…

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19 Responses

  1. The building, together with many more, is listed in the recent Corvina guidebook on Hungarian Art Nouveau Architecture. One can obtain permission in the coffee shop to visit the staircase, which has some outstanding glasswork.

      1. Hmmm…………..just a bit! I think you should do the google thing. I enjoyed your peice……..are you trying to entice people to visit to see more or did you not take pics of the exterior or the cafe?…………..they would help.

      2. Art Nouveau is English for Szecessziós, which Corvina felt should be translated for the Hungarian-resistant reader. Strictly speaking, AN is a more general term, Szecessziós is for things distinctively Hungarian and the term Secessionist is Austrian in origin. There is also the German Jugendstihl, The essential difference is that Hungarian AN makes much use of Hungarian folk-art motifs and (especially) Transylvanian peasant architectural features.

  2. Those font thingies look to me like antique garden sinks – made to be mounted on an exterior wall, or perhaps in some unheated broom cupboard (although they look a bit too fancy to be tucked away out of sight.)
    I have walked past that place but didn’t go in – I must do so next time I am in the area.

  3. Inspector Montalbano was in someones garden and washed his hands in one of those basin things after eating something………I imagine that in countries where outdoor living and eating was popular they were a civilised thing to have set into outside walls but like horse troughs (with lower water bowls for dogs) they are something that our society has decided it doesn’t need!

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