Well, everything is back up and running. I had a fairly major hardware issue (free AH tip: avoid shipping computers across the country via UPS). I'm on the road again though, and I'm now posting from the wonderful Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. I'll be here for a week, and I'm going to Tokyo and Kyoto next week. I'll post one more piece from Hungary, but after that I'm gonna do some real-time blogging while I'm here in Asia. Just like the old days. My stack of photos from Australia will make it on here eventually, but since it really was eating in Japan that inspired this website to begin with, I feel I should prioritize this way... :)
This last Budapest meal I'll be posting is from Baraka, the most highly anticipated meal of the trip. The restaurant was featured in this NY Times article about eating in Budapest, and received some glowing remarks. Owned by a Hungarian-American, the restaurant is supposedly bearing the torch of modern dining in Hungary, blending elements from East and West. The 2-floored restaurant is actually pretty small, with a simple and modern decor. We got a table upstairs, in an area that was sort of like a big balcony over looking the main part of the restaurant.
This intriguing foie gras preparation immediately caught my eye, and as you can see it is as unique a foie gras dish as you'll probably find anywhere. The foie gras was wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper.
After a bit of initial difficulty cutting through the wrapper, I was actually extremely happy with this dish. The foie gras was silky smooth and delicious, and the rice paper did an interesting job of soaking up the juices and adding a textural element I'd never tried before. This was quite possibly the standout dish of the trip for me.
I followed up with this very fusion prawn curry. It was quite delicious; the prawns were plump and tender, and the curry had a deep, complex flavor. It made all of the veggies very tasty as well (green beans were also in there), and I particularly loved the sweet potatoes. The dish was definitely too freakin' small though. I would have been happier with a serving 1.5 times the size.
The food I had at Baraka turned out great, but I hesitate to recommend it because my three companions (Keith, Mike, and Elmer) all had very disappointing meals. I remember Mike getting a totally bland soup and a completely forgettable chicken, while both Keith and Elmer ordered an Atlantic cod that was downright bad. Keith is probably still angry about this meal, actually. And considering this is easily one of the most expensive restaurants in Budapest, the consistency issue raises a big concern. High prices + small portions = bad. For the others, the food wasn't good. I'm glad I went because I had two great dishes, but everyone else walked out pretty unhappy. Anyway, starting tonight or tomorrow I'll post some updates from here in HK. As usual there are plenty of good eats to be had. And next week.. JAPAN!