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Feke Zoltán & the Petrus
Zoltán Feke is not unknown on the Hungarian gastronomy scene. Only a few chefs in Hungary have ever managed to get a Bib Gourmand nomination for their restaurants. Zoltán received two for Vár: a Speiz, the restaurant he left to open his own place in District 9.
Annamária Riedl
Best of Budapest online | October 6, 2013
What was your reason for leaving Vár: a Speiz, and start something unknown?
I felt the urge for something new, a need for a break-through, something that you may only achieve at your own place, not in the shelter and sometimes shadow of someone you work for. During my trips to discover different cuisines in foreign restaurants, I have conceived of a million ideas which were asking for realization. I know what I am capable of, and I need a place to perform: my own kitchen.

Why did you choose this particular part of the city for your first restaurant’s location?
I did not like this district earlier, but  it changed and developed a lt in the past few years. And when I saw this place with its massive glass-wall looking to a lovely green park, I said to myself: This is it. Another reason is – to be honest – that it fits our budget.

Where does the name come from? Any connections to the restaurant of Gordon Ramsay? 
No, absolutely not. There were a plenty of French name-variations we considered first. Then petresilium that translates to petrezselyem, came to my mind – Petrus, parsley, which is frequently used by chefs as an ingredient, is a must in the kitchen, and almost everyone likes it. It is simple, good, and needed – and we hope the same is true of this restaurant.

The atmosphere of Petrus mirrors France, the country you visit regularly. How about the menu?
Let me make it clear: we are not a French bistro.  What we love in France is the way people eat and their behavior towards food and restaurants. On a recent visit, we found this tiny restaurant in an even smaller village, where we decided to dine. A moment later a guest turned up, wearing a suit - only he jumped off a tractor. He came to eat a 60-Euro dinner, washed down with a 20-Euro wine, and then went back to his tractor. It is unbelievable how French people respect gastronomy. This is the philosophy I’d like to pass on to my guests. My kitchen is based on my family traditions, the flavors of the country, and on my pro team. I want to present dishes I love myself, simply because those I can and will create perfectly.

How do you feel after the first couple of months of business?
4 days after the opening we still had a full house, with guests coming from the neighborhood, and also those who were regular at Speiz. It helps a lot, that some of the team has been a part of my life for a long time. I can count on Attila Purgel, my deputy, which saves me time to do everything else, reading, searching for new ideas and even choosing the right decoration for this place. We did not hire an interior designer, even the last screw was put in the wall by me. Of course I know the risks of owning a restaurant. I picked a card for 19. But my long term plan is to build something lasting, which can stand in for quality. Because of the frequenters I already have, I know that I'm on the right path and that indeed this place is worth the effort.