Dining out can be one of life’s luxuries. There are hundreds of restaurants available in the city centre of Budapest but it’s not always easy to find a place that serves good food, welcoming service and value for money.
Veranda Grill & Wine is a small trendy restaurant, just outside the city centre, in district IX’s Vendel Utca. It has been serving food and wine for the past 8 years; it offers a great selection of food on their menu. There are many different meal packages available; Lunch buffet which offers different ways to create your own meal, an a’ la carte menu which changes every three to four weeks, and an all-you-can-eat weekend menu which is available between 12 and 4pm every weekend. It’s quite a tall-order to explain all the options available within each meal package so, for more details, please visit their web-site…:)
My dinner guest and I travelled, by metro, to Klinikák station. Veranda Grill & Wine is approximately 500 meters from the metro station (less than 10 minutes walk), so it was very easy to reach. The restaurant was warm and inviting with around ten tables. As soon as you walk in the restaurant, you can see the open kitchen and the wine area in front of you. I was there in the evening and, with the lighting, experienced the restaurant’s comfy glowing ambiance.
Aside and to the rear of the main restaurant area, there was a larger space called the Veranda Bistro. With the bistro’s many more tables and chairs, it’s available to be hired for special events like wedding dinners, business functions and birthday celebrations. It opens during the day and in the evening, it’s an overflow area when the restaurant area is fully seated.
The open kitchen was a new concept in Veranda offering their customers a new dinning experience. There they will be able to watch the chef cook their food, in front of them. From the open kitchen menu, you can choose one type of meat with various side dishes. (For example: Chicken (350 HUF) + side dishes (400 HUF) = 750 HUF.)
There are usually 3-4 different selections of meat to choose from, such as chicken, turkey, salmon and pork. There are a variety of side dishes, such as salad, roast potato, boiled vegetables and rice, etc. Side dishes are unlimited, so you can eat as much as your stomach can take. So for 750 HUF, you’re be able to dine in a cosy restaurant, stuff your self silly, have a great time and all without breaking the bank.
I started my evening with the wild mushroom soup with bacon, chives and potato dumplings. The soup was rich, creamy and full of flavour. At the bottom of the soup, there were chunky pieces of deliciously roasted bacon and a handful of soft chewy potato dumplings. The blend of salty roasted bacon, chewy dumplings and creamy mushroom soup tasted heavenly. I would highly recommend this dish as a starter.
My guest chose the onion soup which he found to be creamy and smooth. It wasn’t overpowering and he was pleased with his choice.
I was recommended Gnocchi with smoked bacon and pork knuckle, for the main course. This was a delicious dish cooked to perfection. The pork knuckles were soft and spongey, just as they should be. The smoked bacon was crispy, and salty, fantastically complementing the Gnocchi. It was served with a creamy cheesy sauce on top; adding an extra richness to the dish. On first glance, I thought the portion was a little on the small side. However, this dish was quite rich and filling, so the portion was just right.
My dinner guest was recommended the wild pig with blueberry sauce. Thin slices of wild pig loin chop; served with blueberry sauce, a side salad, chunky chips and garnished with a slice of orange on top. Compared to farmed pig loin, wild pig loin is much leaner. When cooking wild pig, the meat tends to be tougher so cooking times need to be longer. I tried some of the loin, personally I found it a little tough for my liking. However, the blueberry sauce was delicious; its sweet and sourness going well with the loin.
Since the open kitchen was new to Veranda, I could not leave without trying it myself. So I ordered chicken, turkey and salmon. It’s always exciting to watch your food being cooked in front of you. I loved the sound of sizzling from my meal being cooked in a hot pan. I loved the aroma and the dramatic flame igniting the pan. It never fails to make an ordinary dining experience into something special.
Both the turkey and the chicken were absolutely fabulous. They were crispy, juicy and seasoned perfectly. However, best of all was the salmon. It was tender, soft and it melted in the mouth. It was priced slightly higher than the chicken or turkey; to be expected for fish and definitely worth paying those extra Forints for.
As usual, I cannot end my evening without a dessert. I’ve chosen Belgian chocolate cake with candied fruits. Two big slices of home-made Belgian chocolate cake drizzle with chocolate sauce served with a sprinkle of candied fruit. The cake was moist rich, chocolaty and almost sinful. For me, it was a perfect ending to the evening.
As for my partner, he had lime cheesecake with apple fried in butter. A deliciously looking piece of lime cheesecake cake, served with four golden slices of apple and a couple of honey roasted walnuts. He described the cheesecake as light and creamy with a crusty base. He particularly loved the combination of richness and tartness.
My verdict: Veranda is a cosy restaurant offering a wide selection of delicious food. The open kitchen menu is great value for money. Where can you dine out in a restaurant for 750 HUF? Who needs to cook at home any more? The next time you think about dining out, go to Veranda Grill & Wine, you’re guaranteed good food and fantastic value for money.