I’ve long since resigned myself to the fact that in Budapest, just as in anywhere else in the world, some people working in the service industry would be better suited to life in a hermitage where interaction with people is minimal – particularly people like me – with a craving that isn’t being satisfied.
If I’m hungry and fixated on having, say, goose and red cabbage, then I don’t want Kobi steak or pasta or roast lamb – I want goose and red cabbage. And my favourite place to eat that goose and red cabbage is in Huszár, a little Hungarian place up on János Pál Pappa tér. I love the place. I’d gone there the last time this particular mate was visiting from Ireland and we had to make do with something else as they’d no goose. Fair enough. It was around St Martin’s day so goose was in short supply. So we went back, again, on Saturday. I had said that perhaps we should call ahead as sometimes they get group bookings on the weekend and close to the general public – but no, he said, let’s live on the edge a little.
We got there, and they were closed. And he soon saw an edge he hadn’t expected. I was like a mad cow. We had somewhere to be at 9. It was now 7.30. I thought quickly and decided on my second favourite Hungarian place over on Hunyadi tér – Hunyadi Kisvendeglo, so we trotted (and I mean trotted) over. It was closed. Not impressed. We went from there to a slightly more upmarket place over on Dob utca – Zeller Bistro – where the maitre’d was booking the couple ahead of us into the next available slot … the following Tuesday. Not a hope of a table.
My mood had gone from bad to worse. I was tired, hot, hungry, and not at all impressed that I hadn’t made that exploratory phone call and, of course, it was all his fault 🙂
We ended up at 68 Andrássy Bistro. I’d been for coffee before and nothing on the menu grabbed me. I was sulking. And Annamaria was unflappable. She approached us as we read the menu – me with distaste, him with hunger. There was no goose leg – just goose liver. With time against us, we went inside. Annamaria ignored my pouts and sulks with something approaching the nonchalance of a professional nanny. She took our order, served our drinks, brought me a hook for my handbag and left us to it. Of course, I had plate envy and should have had his mangalica and mushroom pasta – even if it wasn’t goose. But I shut up and ate my spinach. And it was good. The lovely Annamaria displayed just the right amount of attention and never once did she let me know what she thought of my petulance. Fair play to her. Had our roles been reversed, I wouldn’t have been able to resist. She was amazing. The food wasn’t bad either. I’d go again, if she’d have me back.