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Season your life! - Seasons Wine Bistro
I've been to a newly opened restaurant that is conveniently located on the corner of Liszt Ferenc Square and Király Street, steps away from Andrássy Avenue. Above, you can read my first impressions.
Francisck Réka Alíz
Best of Budapest online | March 23, 2015
Seasons Bistro occupies the ground floor of a prime spot of real estate, glaring at the world-famous Ferenc Liszt Music Academy. Manager owner Zoltán Juhász says the goal was to introduce a modern bistro with unpretentious but pleasant surroundings that serves up innovative high quality dishes at an affordable price.

A local design team, Adam Design, was engaged to rescue something from the wreckage of this run down old building and they have managed to create something really special. The L-shaped interior features cool natural shades of mint and beige, exposed brick walls, old tiling, an open-kitchen and the essential bar – a casual, thrown-together look which takes a good eye and careful planning to create. Oh, and of course the chalkboards. Here, the chalkboard’s come in different sizes and are being used as some kind of an old-school media channel. On these blackboards which are placed…well everywhere, you will find simple definitions of traditional Hungarian dishes, such as Gundel pancake and Gulyás, scribed in English. We urge you take a closer look for some original quotes, such as “After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations” (Oscar Wilde), and my personal favorite, taken from an American author, Jarod Kintz, that goes “True love is rare like a good steak. Help me cut it up.”  

Talking of good steaks, let me take this opportunity and give away one of the secrets of Seasons: the centerpiece of the kitchen is the latest ‘must-have’ appliances, a Josper grill. Often referred to as the ‘Rolls Royce of charcoal ovens’, this indoor barbecue is ‘hot’ (in all respects), but in Hungary you won’t run into them on every corner. As far as I know, this one at Seasons is only the fourth in the whole country.
“A Josper is a hybrid. It is first and foremost a grill but the secret of what it adds to whatever is cooked on it - whether steaks, chicken, fish, vegetables or anything enterprising chefs can turn their hands to - is that it has a front door which, when closed, ensures that none of the natural moisture or flavor escapes,” explains Zoltán, who became a big fan of the device, and who, as he put it, would eat nothing but steak, ever since he first tasted a gorgeous, 6-week aged rib-eye, made in it. But he asks me to hold my breath until I receive my portion. “First comes the mussels, also from the Josper,” he says, comfortingly. And so it comes, a huge pan of mouthwatering blue mussels, with white wine sauce and veggies. The young and willowy broccoli and tangy carrot, along with the bluish color of shell, for some reason, reminded me of the bright colors of a peacock. As for the taste – the dish had me wondering whether anybody would be shocked if I licked the pan clean. I only resist because the chef, Endre Ruga joins me to share his views on heading the kitchen of the newest bistro in town. “The strength of bistro cooking owes much to its flexibility. The chalkboard menu attests to its adaptability.” Far more than a rustic decorative feature, the chalkboard reflects the ever-changing availability of fresh in-season ingredients. “If I could, I would eliminate the menu. Guests could only choose from dishes I make randomly, depending on what ingredients I found most promising at the market and at my favorite butcher. Cooking is art, and you have different inspirations every day. Never a dull moment, this way!” Of course he understands that Gulyás and Veal stew with noodles are necessary to be kept on the menu at a restaurant that just opened at a square frequented by tourists. Apparently, Endre, this very young and talented chef is trying to make a mark, and he’s on the right path. And he is cooking his heart out. I could feel it, while I was feasting on the steak that finally arrived with a bright side dish of root vegetables and mushroom – the onion being oh-so sweet, caramelized, the meat so tender and perfectly rare – just to my taste. I feel nurtured, already, but I receive a killer chocolate ganache, to crown my dinner. “There’s no flour added,” Endre says soothingly. Instead, the dessert has a distinct flavor of lavender and a playful texture. A so-called “chocolate-soil” (not to be mistaken with grounded chocolate) is sprinkled over the plate; so the dessert has a geological look, as if the universe wanted me to eat it. Well, who am I to disagree with the Universe?  

Seasons Wine Bistro is set to thrive. With great food, made as organic as possible, an impressive wine list and a bill that won’t leave you breathless, unlike the live music concerts at night.