Folklore meets modern – this is the best way to describe the highly unusual but lovingly detailed design of Urban Betyár. Just a stone's throw away from St. Stephen's Basilica, the restaurant manages to combine sleek leather sofas, rustic wood tables, modern neon lights and an antique giant wine press in a coherent design concept. Here, the yearning for Hungary of the past still works without the typical checkered tablecloths and embroidery on the wall.


Museum in the cellar

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A special feature of the restaurant is the ethnological museum, located in the basement of the house. The extensive exhibition is dedicated to the traditional life in the Hungarian countryside. More than 2000 objects from the everyday lives of people are on display, among them traditional tomato and potato pressers or butter churners. The various themes – such as family life or labour – are exhibited in separate rooms. The objects come from a private collection and were purchased by the Leidal family.

But the exhibition uses modern technology as well. Noises – the cry of a baby or simple knocking on the door – enhance the experience of the visitors, and a short audio recording in Hungarian or English is also available for each topic. In one room there is a hologram of a woman who appears at the push of a button and tells the story of her life. In terms of entertainment value, all this makes the Urban Betyár Museum superior to even some state museums.

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The museum is also dedicated to the Hungarian Betyárs – as rural bandits and highwaymen in Hungary used to be called – especially the infamous robber Sándor Rózsa. The Hungarian Robin Hood carried out his mischiefs in the 19th century in the Great Hungarian Plain, but he really became famous when, despite his crimes, he joined the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 with his band of 150 robbers.


Traditional food and international cuisine

The restaurant is a homage to him and other betyárs of the era, who became part of Hungarian history after a number of writers started to romanticise their actions around the turn of the century. "In the name of Urban Betyár two things come together: the rural adventure, which many associate with the term Betyár and 'Urban', because we also want to be a modern, metropolitan restaurant," explains Gábor Leidal, the manager. Gastronomy is a family business; more than ten years ago his parents opened the First Pester Strudelhaus – located only a few metres away – and the Urban Betyár was opened in October 2016.

The menu offers a stimulating mix of modern, international dishes and traditional Hungarian food. In addition to goulash soup, duck liver and peppers, there are BBQ meals, steaks and risottos available. The restaurant is particularly proud of its two smokers, used for smoking at high or low temperatures. The specialty of the house is the smoked trout – served whole – with a Beluga caviar salad.

Smoked goods can also be found in other sections of the menu. Among the starters the trout tartare, the carpaccio and the Hungarian tasting plate are all dishes flavoured with the help of the smoker, but offering different smoke-flavours. The selection of main courses is particularly rich and includes vegetarian dishes, poultry, fish, pork, lamb and beef. All dishes are prepared with the utmost care and their presentation is equally professional.


Conclusion

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The Urban Betyár can mostly be recommended for those looking for an experience instead of just a quick bite. The restaurant is particularly suitable for larger groups and special events such as Christmas parties, teambuilding, family reunions or even a small conference as there are separate rooms for such occasions in the back.

But despite the remarkable facilities, if the weather allows, most guests prefer to sit on the terrace. Though located on the street, it is not too sunny and the area is usually not crazily crowded.

Those who still have some time after their meal should definitely not miss a visit to the museum or the souvenir shop or the Trabant60 bar, where among other curiosities you can check out a real Trabant – which is probably the best-known car of the Soviet era –, but also go on a journey through the time of goulash communism with thematically matching snacks and drinks.


Urban Betyár
Budapest, District V, Október 6 utca 16-18.
Open: daily 11am-midnight
Reservations: (+36-1) 796-3285 or office@urbanbetyar.com
See www.urbanbetyar.com

Prices
Starters and soups: HUF 1590-3590
Mains: HUF 2490-16990
Desserts: HUF 1490-1990
Meals: HUF 7990-9990



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