This season, Ducza’s Chef’s winter favourites” opens with the rabbit in a chestnut terrine accompanied by forest berries. The pheasant follows in a consommé with poached vegetables and green herbs noodles, then the third course is deer ragout with forest mushrooms and home-made potato croquette. Finalising proceedings is poppy seed cake with blueberry cream. The strong tastes should be just the right antidote to cold-weather blues. The four courses can be ordered individually rather than the full menu, if desired.


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His winter menu is the opening salvo in chef Ducza’s typical year of specials, to be followed by other established annual occasions at Hilton Budapest City such as spring and autumn menus, Valentine’s Day and Women’s Day selections, and big sporting occasions. It will hardly have escaped his attention that the football World Cup will be in Russia for a full month in June and July, and suitable food will be needed for the fans watching on the hotel’s TV screens indoors and out on the two terraces facing Váci út.

The idea behind the winter menu is to represent the richness of Hungarian nature,” the long-time chef says. These are all Hungarian products from my special suppliers. I have built up plenty of connections and so, as well as the planned menus, if I get a special request and need something urgently I can get it in a day, or even on the same day.”


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On Valentines Day in February, his offering will touch on the aphrodisiacal, with lighter items such as celery, avocado, strawberries and of course chocolate. Flowers will be prominent on Women’s Day in March and the ladies may find rose petals on some food items. VIP set-ups can be placed in guests’ rooms on these two special days, with champagne and nice treats. Spring will be a time for strawberries and asparagus, and mushrooms go down well at autumn.

Ducza presides over 14 cooks, a team kept compact by the fact that they operate out of a single central kitchen preparing everything the hotel offers in the catering line. It is no small task, as they serve the Arrabona Restaurant, Kando Bar, Zita Café, banquets, room service, a buffet breakfast for an average 260 guests, a la carte lunch and dinner, the Executive Lounge where snacks and a light buffet are available most of the day for Hilton Budapest City’s valued guests, and even the staff canteen.

As the hotel’s address in Váci út indicates, corporate clients are of great importance, with a multitude of multinational and Hungarian business offices around about in the commercial centre of Budapest. Naturally they require a wide variety of international and local dishes and ingredients, at special or regular buffets and a la carte. These can range from goulash to foie gras, special stews to stuffed chicken, salmon to caprese salad.

The hotel has 13 fully equipped meeting rooms, 11 of them enjoying natural daylight, including a multi-purpose ballroom, and these are generally busy all year, but quieter now in January after the hectic round of Christmas parties.


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The hotel’s Zita Café offers business lunches every Monday to Friday, noon to 3pm with a menu that changes each week. Also on the menu here are half a dozen different salads, four types of burger and Hilton Club sandwiches or Philadelphia sandwiches. For a hot dish, there is Tagliatelle al’ Arrabiata with pisellini cheese, Tofu vegetable lasagne with leek rice and fennel, or Grilled baby chicken with ruccola salad and wedges potatoes.

The Arrabona, the Hilton Budapest City’s main restaurant, promises a light and tasty menu with international cuisine and Hungarian specialities, from a buffet or a la carte. On the Hungarian side are pancakes Hortobágyi” style, Traditional Goulash soup, Veal paprika Dödölle”, Beef ragout with bread dumplings, and Grilled goose liver, grapes and red onion compote with roasted apples and potato croquettes. Internationally, there is Grilled Angus beef tenderloin, Veal Wiener schnitzel, Rosé duck breast and chicken three different ways, among other choices.


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The Fish and Seafood selection offers Grilled pike perch with saffron sauce, vegetable cous-cous and tomato concassé; or Salmon steak on spinach with creamy celery and stuff bell pepper; or Grilled butterfish and scallop with spinach mash potato and sautéed vegetables.

All in all, plenty to keep the kitchen busy. Twenty-two years is a long time in a job, and chef Ducza explains: Hilton is one of the world’s leading companies, so it is a secure work environment with a family-style management and atmosphere. And with a good team it is easier to get through difficulties together every day.

Some chefs like to produce food for hundreds of clients in a day, some like fine-dining where they cater for perhaps 50 people a day. Here we do both, sometimes for 200 people, sometimes for 10. It is the most demanding way but even after 22 years there are new challenges on a daily basis. No days are the same, so I still enjoy it.”


Hilton Budapest City

Váci út 1-3 (West End shopping centre)

Tel.: (06-1) 288-5500

Email: info.budapestcity@hilton.com


Prices

Chef’s winter favourites” HUF 9000

Business lunch HUF 3250

Zita Café burgers HUF 3050-4150

Kando Bar cocktails HUF 1800-3850

Arrabona mains HUF 3200-6900

Fish mains HUF 4500-4900

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