If you fancy going somewhere different for an evening out in Budapest, where they serve both drinks and delicious food, Apacuka could be the place for you.
Apacuka has been open for 6 years and relocated twice. Currently, Apacuka is located at Nagymező Utca 54-56 in Budapest’s district XI. Apacuka is part coffee house, part restaurant, part wine bar and part night club. It calls itself ‘ Kávéház Étterem Varieté’, which translates as ‘Coffee House Restaurant Variety’. A multi-functional place; a coffee place by day, a dining restaurant in the evening and a bar with dance club facilities at night.
The main area has an extra high ceiling which makes it feel very spacious. Immediately after entering the entrance, to the left is the drinking area with its high tables and chairs. Moving forwards there’s the bar and to the right is the dining area. There’s also a staircase, in the middle of the venue which leads up to the mezzanine level and down to the dance area. The mezzanine is filled with more tables and seats.
There is a passageway from the drinking area that leads to the back of Apacuka, where you’ll discover a smaller quieter sitting area with a glass window to the kitchen. There is a door that leads outside where, during the summer, there’s an outdoor seating area serving drinks, food and ice-cream.
Apacuka also exhibits a few artwork pieces. I was told that Apacuka is owned by an artist and his wife, hence explaining the artwork display. One cannot miss the large print of Grande Odalisque, an oil painting of 1814 by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres which considered the work to signify Ingres’ break from Neoclassicism and indicating a shift towards exotic Romanticism.
On the wall of the dining area, there’s a tall figure of a girl with long legs wearing a little blue dress whilst blowing a trumpet with seven ducks flying around her. It reminded me of the time Alice in Wonderland ate the “Eat me” cake and grew to a giant. On another wall, there’s a large light box showing a silhouette of what seems a kitchen. I was told by the friendly manager that the silhouette was of the owner’s country house kitchen. It reminded me of Mrs. Potts and her son in the story of Beauty and the Beast. There are other smaller artworks; such as an orange figure sitting by the stairs and metal pieces in the back.
Apacuka offers a good selection of food from their main menu, bar menu and menu of the day. I selected three different types of spreads from the bar menu to start with: all of them came with slices of toasted home-made bread. First, I had ‘salmon cream with dill-caper mascarpone’. A simple dish primarily of mashed salmon with cream and dressed with dill-caper. It was mild, delicious and not too fishy at all.
Then I tasted the ‘fatten duck liver paté’, a delicate soft buttery spread that was rich in flavour and melt-in-the-mouth. It was absolutely delicious. I love paté and this definitely passed my taste test. However, I do not agree with the fattening process that the ducks are subjected to in the farming process so this is not something I would recommend on compassionate grounds.
The third spread I had was ‘slow roasted goose meat torn into goose-grease’; chunky pieces of goose meat covered in goose-grease. The goose-grease was rich with a silky texture, well suited to the tender pieces of goose meat. It was nice but a little oily. Normally goose grease is used as an oil or butter substitute for frying and roasting to add extra flavour to the food. Goose-grease is also a good fat compared to other animal fat, it is high in ‘heart healthy’ monounsaturated fats which can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Lángos is a Hungarian food speciality. It’s made by deep frying flat bread made of a dough with flour, yeast and water. In Apacuka, lángos is one of their specialities. I had two different types of lángos – a traditional lángos ( garlic oil, sour cream and cheese), and a special lángos ( spinach, garlic, goat cheese and seasoned with ground black pepper). Both lángos were crispy and very delicious. The crispness of the lángos mixed with the creaminess of the cheese is simply irresistible. Hungarians probably appreciate that Lángos is not exactly diet friendly food. But when they are this good, it’s worth every calorie.
For the main course, I had the Apacuka special burger, served with home-made ketchup and steak potato chips. The burger was made with a thick and juicy beef patty, lettuce, tomato slice, red onion slices and cheese sandwiched in a home-made bun. The bun was sliced in half and grilled with a slice of cheese before forming the burger. The only downside was that, the cheese had the consistency of processed cheese. Nevertheless, the burger tasted great. One thing I really love about this dish was the steak potato chips. They were specially cut into a U shape. Imagine a water pipe cut longitudinally in half; that’s what the chips looked like. It was a great choice and perfect for spooning up Apacuka’s home-made ketchup. I thought it was very utilitarian…:)
As for dessert, I had the Chocolate brownies with soft peach jelly. The chocolate brownies had crushed walnut on top and were cut into small circular shapes. It was chocolatey, warm and soft with a texture like fudge. Just in case the brownies weren’t chocolatey enough, the dish also came with a shot of hot thick chocolate sauce. This sauce was rich and smooth, perfect for dipping the brownie in. As for the soft peach jelly, it was slightly spicy from the cinnamon and sweet from the peach itself. It was great for cleansing the palate between devouring each brownie, so as not to be overwhelmed by the chocolatey goodness.
Lastly, I tasted the Apacuka-style creamy sweets with caramelized green apple. It had crunchy pastry on the outside with creamy cold custard and soft apple slices on the inside. It was light and delicious. It’s akin to eating chocolate eclaires but replacing all the chocolate with a creamy custard sauce.
My Verdict: Apacuka is unique in its own way. It has a casual atmosphere similar to a college refectory. It’s a place for meeting up with friends, have a couple of drinks and eat some nice food.
Visit their facebook page for their menu
Nagymező Utca 54-56
Mon -Thur 10:00-24:00
+36 20 366 4272
+36 1 269 1317