Following on from my tasty experience of Don Pepe’s home delivery service, I was curious to try their a’la carte restaurant. If you haven’t read my review on Don Pepe’s home delivery yet, you can read it HERE.
Did you know that Don Pepe has eight a’la carte restaurants in Hungary, seated restaurants with full waiter service. Not only do the a’la carte restaurants serve everything that you can order for home delivery, they also have a wine menu and burgers. Apart from wine and burgers, each a’la carte restaurant has a chef’s special menu that changes weekly. This special menu differs from restaurant to restaurant.
I decided to try their restaurant at 187 Vaci Ut, in district XIII. The restaurant is at the rear of the Zepter office building, opposite a Tesco superstore. It’s not so easy to see it from the main road, so go towards Tesco and then look back towards Vaci Ut; there you will see the restaurant besides the large Don Pepe logo.
The restaurant was nice and bright with white being the predominate colour. Tables were of light wood, the walls covered with white shiny tile encompassing two rows of black shiny tile. The front of the restaurant has floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking onto the car park, letting in plenty of natural light.
At the back of the restaurant, there were two pendant lights fitted with red acrylic lamp shades delivering a warm splash of color to the eyes. There was also a row of red coloured soft seating against the wall beneath a black and white scenic image, complete with the big red logo of Don Pepe.
The menu has so many options to choose from, it’s like a little book. Since I have already tried their pizza, I was interested in trying something different. Starting with a French onion soup, made with onion, leek, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, white wine and mozzarella, served in a bread bowl. The bread lid was covered with melted mozzarella cheese, perfect for dipping. The soup smelled great and, with chunky pieces of sweet caramelized onion, it was light and tasted delicious.
I also tried the Don Pepe Rich Boullion, a very light broth; made from consommé together with chicken breast, carrots, peas, broccoli, and noodles. All served with a sprinkling of parsley. The consommé was richly flavoured and perfectly complemented the chunky strips of chicken breast and fresh carrots. Since the consommé has fat removed, it was a prefect dish to start with; not having to worry about ruining one’s appetite.
For a starter, I picked the Mozzarella Caprese with buffalo mozzarella; a beautiful served dish made of buffalo mozzarella slices sandwiched between basil leaves and thick slices of tomato, drizzled with an olive oil dressing. The Mozzarella was soft and creamy and tasted deliciously delightful when eaten with the sweet juicy tomato slices and the subtle peppery flavour of the basil leaves. Definitely one of my favourite.
Another starter I picked was the smoked salmon with horseradish mousse; complete with a base of fresh salad, radish sprouts, tomatoes, red onion and lemon, covered atop by large slices of smoked salmon. Served with horseradish cream alongside. Smoked salmon always make a great starter dish. It’s a relatively healthy option, full of Omega-3 fatty acids. The smoked salmon was firm and richly smoked. The special element of this dish was the horseradish mousse, a creamy airy white sponge-like condiment. On its own, the mousse has a mild spicy taste. When eaten with the salmon, it brings out the flavour of the fish even more.
For a side dish, I had chilli & garlic chicken wings. They were meaty but slightly too soft for my personal preference. The sauce was nice as it wasn’t too spicy nor too sweet. This side comes with the option of 10 or 16 pieces, so you can actually have it as a starter.
For a main course, I tasted the Don Pepe Burger, which is not available on the home delivery menu. Their signature burger was made from a succulent beef patty, crunchy lettuce topped with a slice of cheese, two pieces of fried bacon, red onion, slices of tomato, ketchup and mustard sauce. All sandwiched between a home-made sesame bun. The burger also came with a portion of crispy chips and a mayonnaise dipping. In terms of presentation, it could have look a little better but it would mean reducing the contents, a prospect so heinous that I couldn’t begin to contemplate such a reduction. It smelled so fantastic, I couldn’t help but salivate. The portion size was good. There was so much in the burger, it was not possible to pick it up with my hand without making any mess but hey I’m certainly not complaining.
Another main dish was the beef risotto; one of the new menu items of 2014. Made with beef tenderloin, leeks, capsicum, parsley, cream, bouillon, parmesan, rice, butter, olive oil, onion, white wine and onion spouts. The risotto looked fantastic with onion spouts on top and a handful of parmesan cheese shavings. As for the taste, it was deliciously creamy and the pieces of beef were tender. The parmesan cheese also added that extra oomph to the risotto. Although this dish was a little heavy on the stomach for one person, it was delicious.
Of course, I couldn’t finish my review without trying their desserts. I had Gnocchi with poppy seeds and plum jam. This was an interesting dish because Gnocchi is a pasta generally eaten as a first course in Italy. At Don Pepe, they cover the boiled Gnocchi with poppy seeds (a common ingredient for many parts of Central and Eastern Europe), sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with plum jam. This dish was like a fusion of Hungary and Italy. The combination of the chewy texture from the Gnocchi, together with the slight nutty flavour of poppy seed, the sweetness of the icing sugar and the sourness of the plum jam, was quite nice. If you have never tasted this dish before, I would recommend trying it.
I also tried one of the Don Pepe seasonal offers – Mascarpone cheesecake with cream and cranberry sauce. This dessert has a crumbly base and the Mascarpone cheese has a rich distinctive flavour, it was soft and it melted in the mouth. This dish was scrumptious. As a seasonal dish it was sadly only available for a limited amount of time. However, there are always other new seasonal dishes to choose from in Don Pepe.
Finally, it was time to taste their strudel with strawberry sauce again. I say again because I’ve already tried it when I ordered from the Don Pepe home delivery service. (You can read about it HERE). Aside from a better plated presentation, it tasted just as delicious as I remembered. Another dessert that I would heartily recommend.
My verdict: Don Pepe’s a’la carte restaurants offer more choices than their home delivery service. For the same price as their delivery menu, you’ll get table service and enjoy your food in clean and comfortable surroundings. If you are sick of eating home delivery and you want to go somewhere with a great selection of food in a relaxing environment, why not try one of Don Pepe’s a’la carte restaurants? To find out the nearest Don Pepe a’la carte restaurant to you, you can check their web-site at www.donpepe.hu
1138 Budapest, Váci út. 187
06 1239 7886 / 06 1239 8100 / 06 20 950 6069 /06 30 350 5013
Opening hours: 11:00 to 23:00
Order Online: www.donpepe.hu
Free of charge delivery service for districts IV, VI and some parts of district XV.
Delivery between 11:00 to 23:00