- 4 Nov 2016 8:00 AM
The Great Bistro is both an anagram of the name ‘Gréta’ and a game of words with the English word ‘great’, and it even contains ‘eat’, so we thought it would be appropriate, Stőhr’s business partner, Boróka Máté, smiles. She and Ákos Tóth, owner and manager, are part of the triangle that keeps the Great Bistro running each day.
The concept of the establishment, which opened in mid-July near central Szabadság tér, is primarily based on daily changing menus – as with Heraclites’ mantra that “Everything is changing”, no dish appears twice on the menu. This makes each visit a one-of-a-kind experience.
Guests can choose from two freshly prepared soups, four main courses and three to four different desserts each day. It is all 100% vegan and – when possible – made from organically produced ingredients – this means not only denouncing meat; eggs, dairy products and honey are also prohibited.
Further, ingredients containing gluten and refined sugar are completely banned from the kitchen. But don’t shake your heads in disbelief and wonder what is left: “There are unbelievably many options if you know what kind of foodstuff you are looking for,” Máté says.
So they use chickpea flour instead of wheat flour to thicken and bind the dishes, for example. “The thing that differentiates us from other vegan restaurants in Budapest is that we are trying to move away from Hungarian cooking traditions, namely deep-fried and greasy food,” Máté says.
Instead, Great Bistro is trying to create light, vegan versions of international classics. The results are dishes such as the carrot soup with lemongrass, inspired by Thai cuisine, or the lentil dish inspired by India, but also plant-based fried food based on soya served with refined sauces.
Stőhr herself deals with the concept and realisation of the menus. When she is not in the kitchen she can be found at the counter, giving advice to customers, serving or simply having a chat. This is welcomed by her fans, many of whom are regular visitors.
Don’t miss: tofu bacon and vegan breakfast
Apart from the daily menu Great Bistro has a lot to offer: a salad bar where you can put together a raw plate including vegan dressing according to your taste, or you can choose from the selection of sandwiches (where we absolutely tip the tofu bacon sandwich).
You should not miss the breakfast either, which is served from the moment the bistro opens until 11.30am. Choose from a daily selection of smoothies, gluten-free pancakes and vegan omelettes with vegetable, and from an unusually authentic vegetable-based cheese.
In addition to all this, the unique atmosphere of the restaurant is convincing for many clients. The interior design could be an advertisement for a creative do-it-yourself living project: there are lovingly arranged details everywhere, such as low-hanging light bulbs dimmed by colourful jars instead of lampshades, wonderfully ornamented picture frames cover the walls and a noticeboard allows diners to leave small messages.
The turquoise-coloured wooden panels on the walls, light-painted floorboards and white vintage furniture fit the picture too. This backdrop reminds us of our carefree childhood and this is exactly the goal, according to Máté: “We would like to create a familiar atmosphere where people are able to relax and feel at home.”
The Great Bistro is a colourful refuge for the upcoming grey autumn days, with the right atmosphere and soul-comforting titbits. The restaurant is not oriented towards pronounced vegans only. The creatively and attractively prepared dishes are meant to attract a broader audience. Environmentally conscious consumers will be happy to hear that the bistro is committed to ecologically sustainable catering and uses biodegradable materials for napkins, packaging and dishes.
6 Bank utca, District V
Open Monday-Friday 7am-6pm
Reservations at (+36) 70 214-9072
Source: The Budapest Times
Republished with permission