Modern Hungarian cuisine..
Klassz is the sexy modern restaurant in Budapest, situated on Andrassy Utsa opposite the swish boutiques and a stones throw from the Louis Vitton store, it's decorated with patterned wall paper of the sort that timorous beasties would approve of (though obviously fewer prints of junkies).
Their wine list is short but hits almost every one of the modern and forward looking of Hungarys wine makers, and the menu is, if not cutting edge, then certainly very modern, but with some nice Hungarian accents.
As is my current wont I started with the consommé, served with vegetables, I was a bit concerned when the server brought a bowl along with a copper pan of consomme to the table and the veg looked, well just a little over done, drained a modicum of colour, as if it hadn't quite been chilled quick enough after the first cooking, or if the refreshing wasn't fast enough. However I was quickly disabused of my qualms when I bit into possibly the sweetest tasting piece of green pea, still in it's pod, and frankly still gossiping to it's poddington friends. As I've mentioned earlier I quite like consommes and this carried on the sterling tradition, accessorised with a glass of Bodrog Bormuhely, Lapiz Furmint (Lapiz is a cru just over from Bodrogkisfalud in the southern central part of the Tokaj region) which showed some nice waxy pear and quince with some very tastefully applied barrique influence.
I followed this with breaded Mangaliza, the only acceptable pig breed if you're Hungarian, which came with parsley buttered potatoes, and a stroke of genius in a pickled cucumber and sour cream accompaniment. The delicate sharpness of the pickled cucumber provided a lovely counterpart to the crispy bread-crumbed pork. The meat itself was a nice shade of pink, implying that it had led a good active life, and had more than enough flavour to stand up to what can be quite a brutal style of cooking.
Wanting something light to go with it I had a glass of Heimann Kadarka, now I'm going to write more about Heimann after I visit him on Thursday, but he's one of my favourite growers in the southerly region of Szeksard, and his Kadarka is a treat. Roughly the same body as a Beaune Pinot Noir, it has lovely aromatics of floral cherries and rose petals, with a bitter cherry and licorice on the palette. To my pleasant surprise it was served quite chilled which was perfect on a warmish September afternoon.
I rounded off the meal with an espresso (Riedel glass espresso cup!) and a Plum palinka from Agardi that had seen 4 months in Hungarian oak barriques to give it a touch of body, perfumed, smooth and beautiful.
Klassz isn't perfect, and I suspect that they think slightly higher of themselves than they ought, but that's more a reflection of what else there is aroung in Budapest. However I really like what they are doing, and I'm pretty certain that they're laying down a gauntlet to others. Look at what we're doing, look at what we're charging, now come and match us.
(£25 for starter, mains, two glasses of wine, a coffee and a palinka, of which apart from the main the palinka was the most expensive, service was included)
Highly recommended if you're in Budapest.