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The new gastronomic heavyweight

In Malta, the name of Marvin Gauci is a synonym for quality cooking. His small gastro empire is known for its fine design, adventurous nature and innovative dishes. Now, by means of opening the Caviar & Bull on Erzsébet Boulevard, the successful gastronome has set his feet in the Hungarian capital too, promptly managing to enter the league of the greatest players on the Budapest gastronomy scene.

It was in June when the Caviar & Bull moved into the ground floor of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest after the Szamos Royal Kávéház closed its operations. Since then, the gourmet restaurant has managed to become one of the hottest addresses for gourmets and connoisseurs. It quickly earned top place among the recommended restaurants in Budapest on the TripAdvisor evaluation platform, and has managed to hold this position.Ninety-three per cent of more than 300 evaluations awarded the restaurant five stars. “Such a fast rise is very unusual for a new restaurant,” Kristóf Szigeti, the marketing manager of Caviar & Bull, says.

At the same time, the very beginning was tough for the restaurant, which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine. As an eatery located in a hotel, there are certain prejudices that have to be overcome, Szigeti adds. Although the Caviar & Bull only rents the space and operates independently from the international hotel chain – in the same way as does the Bock Bistro, which is also seated in the Corinthia  it is often falsely perceived as a hotel restaurant.

However, even though the Caviar & Bull, which is open from 5pm until midnight, was complaining about empty tables in its first days, now it hardly manages to seat everyone. “We have full house almost every day now,” Szigeti says.

Playful and innovative

According to him, the main reasons for this popularity are the unusual culinary creations, which present a fair amount of culinary fantasy both in the way they are prepared and presented. These almost enchanted dishes, which are an experience in themselves, are especially valued by experienced foodies. As the name of the restaurant hints, two especially prominent assets of Mediterranean cuisine cojoin: one focal point is fish and all kinds of seafood, and the other one is beef, prepared with outstanding expertise.

One of the highlights worth mentioning would be for example the beef carpaccio, which is one of the most popular appetisers at the moment, Szigeti reveals. This dish, just like the salmon carpaccio, is served under a glass bell filled with smoke. The smoke, which lingers around the plate for a while after lifting the bell before finally puffing away, not only looks good but also gives a special aroma to the raw meat, which is cut into paper-thin pieces.

We can find another innovative dish among the appetisers: the lobster popcorn. It may sound weird but it is indeed one of the most luxurious and original delicacies that we have ever heard of. As Szigeti explains, this is the very own creation of the star chef and owner, Marvin Gauci.

“He went to the cinema one day, and he was having a bag of popcorn when he thought, wouldn’t it be great to make something like this out of lobsters?” And there it is. During the preparation all the meat is removed from the shells then cut into little pieces, coated and fried. The crispy end result does look like real popcorn in terms of colour and shape. It’s served in the previously cleaned empty lobster shell.

Caviar & Bull does not leave any wishes unfulfilled in the area of the main dishes either. Besides steaks of Black Angus beef, lamb racks and Mangalica, there are fish and pasta dishes too, which make the mouth water. If you can’t decide which to have, there is the degustation menu, in two variations. These offer both a comprehensive view of the art of the kitchen team and an extremely inexpensive choice compared to the prices of other fine-dining restaurants: nine courses for between HUF 19,500-21,500.

Away from the mainstream

The interior design of the Caviar & Bull is also quite unique in the Hungarian capital. While most of the local restaurants are placed somewhere in the spectrum between minimalism, eclecticism and vintage, this one sticks out with its rather heavy but imposing ambiance. At first glance, both rooms, dominated by black and grey tones loosened up by some golden accents, seem somewhat cool. However, as the tables fill in the evening and the matte gloss of the busy life on the Great Boulevard sways in through the windows in the front room, this impression finally turns into cosiness.

The particularly large black leather couches and edgy armchair sets seem to radiate such a manly note that it’s really surprising to learn that Marvin Gauci’s wife personally arranged every single piece of furniture and decoration here. One optical highlight, next to a striking painting involving a fishbone, is the lobster tank where you can look at the shellfish merrily come and go. For another special experience, the “Chef’s table” gives a view of the busy kitchen life while enjoying your dessert.

Evaluation

Caviar & Bull arrived here with the aim of setting new standards to impress Budapesters – who were not really excessively pampered with top gastronomy before. While it has managed to reach this goal, the creators of the restaurant don’t want to stop there: “We are moving constantly, we are trying to develop and improve ourselves,” Szigeti asserts.

The fine-dining restaurant has an ambitious target and is in turbo gear in search of a Michelin star. Even though this may not be achieved in 2018, Costes, Onyx and the others had better keep up the good work because Caviar & Bull is not just another gastronomic competitor but a real heavyweight. It is charging ahead with full force, just like the bull on its logo.

Caviar & Bull

Budapest, District VII, 43-49 Erzsébet Boulevard

Open: Monday to Sunday 5pm to midnight

Reservations at (+36-1) 479-4040/budapest@caviarandbull.com

See www.caviarandbull.com/budapest

Original Article – BudapestTimes

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