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The visit (3)

Seven days in and we’re both still alive, if bordering on exhaustion. I want to be a kid again so I can stay up all night and sleep all day and not have to worry about who pays the bills. Working for a living is a mug’s game.

chineyWe spent a day hopping on and off the Big Bus. We went to City Park to touch Anonymous’s pen in the hope that it would give  us some ability to write. We even hopped off the boat and went to see the musical fountain on Margaret Island. We’re still sampling the hazi limonadé. We’ve fallen in love with kürtöskalács (chimney cake) and are planning on introducing it to Ireland. Budapest is fast running out of fish and chips and I’m left wondering where he puts it all. He’s a bottomless pit. And there’s not an ounce of spare flesh on him – obviously our genes differ.

We got told off by a grumpy old driver for taking the train down to Palatinus and then not going inside, even if it was close to 6pm and it shuts at 7. I felt stupidly chastised, as if I’d been caught red-handed stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. I even blushed. I had to remind myself that I was an adult and that the driver was being a prat. And then I thought of being a full-time parent and having to be on my best behaviour all the time – leading by example – and the strain of that! And then I thought of the parents I know and laughed. Maybe I need to chill a little and stop taking this responsibility so seriously.

On Friday, we took the train to Komárom – to the fort. And we brought along some company – a very chatty 12-year-old who thankfully spoke fluent Hungarian. It was like sitting in the middle of a dolby stereo. We played chess and draughts and pawn war and they talked non-stop for hours. We wandered down the town and saw what little there was to see other than the fort, and then we came home. And ate. And ate some more.

We’re slowly making our way through the menu at the cukrászda (cake shop)     … somlói galuska, krémes, dobos torte, csokis-kakaós csiga … where his universal point-and-salivate language is well understood. And did I mention the unquenchable thirst for lemonade?

Saturday we did the whole Bloomsday thing and yesterday, after Part II of our research into fish and chips in Irish pubs in Budapest (Jack Doyle’s won on account of the newspaper wrapping being in English and from Ireland), he went visiting and I got to work.

First thing this morning all I got was – Can we go for fish and chips?

Food, glorious food…

One of the greatest pleasures of living in Budapest is the sense of discovery when I find a new place to eat – one that warrants talking about. When meeting the illustrious BA for lunch on the eve of his collecting yet another award for one of his translations (this time extracts from The Hangman’s House by Andrea Tompa),  I agreed to try Bohémtanya on Paulay Ede utca. I’d never been there before, but by all accounts this 37-year-old restaurant has its share of devotees in the city.

Arriving promptly at noon, we had our choice of tables. Choosing a main course was a little more difficult as the menu is quite expansive. Not so much so that I began to question the quality of the food on offer, but detailed enough for me to read, and read again, and again, each time narrowing down my choices. I’m a sucker for house specialities, figuring that if someone is going to put their name to a dish, it has to be good so I opted for the Bohémtanya borzas finomsága hasábburgonyával which translates into chicken breast baked in  a spicy grated potato-pasta with fried garlic, cream and cheese. I plumped for the house white – a 2010 Villányi Rizling – which was very palatable and a lovely companion for what  truly was an excellent meal.

Since arriving in Budapest nearly five years ago, I’ve been in search of the perfect Cosmopolitan and have  been so unsuccessful that I’ve resigned myself to making my own. Not so with the traditional Somlói galuska something that is quite beyond my culinary expertise. I’m always on the lookout for one that’s better than what I’ve had before. While not the absolute best I’ve ever had, Bohémtanya’s was quite respectable indeed, garnering 8/10 on the Murphy scale, and was perfectly accompanied by a glass of Tokaji Szamorodni – a rather lovely dessert wine.

The service was friendly; the food was excellent; and the conversation wasn’t half bad either. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Looking out the window at the more popular restaurants on the other side of the street, I felt a little sorry for  those diners and what they were missing. The Bohémtanya might look a little like an old-fashioned rustic tourist trap, with its traditional chequered tablecloths and stout wooden furniture, but believe me, it’s kitchen has mastered traditional Hungarian cuisine and it is certainly good value for your forint. I can see this place becoming a personal favourite.

1061 Budapest, Paulay Ede utca 6 / open 12-24 every day