The restaurant is the Baltazár Grill in the Castle District and the waiters and chefs are having a busy time with few moments to ease off. But perhaps busiest of all in the business of keeping the people well fed is the “worker” that goes by the name of Josper, and Josper just could be the star of the show.

Josper comes from Catalunya in Spain, and is in fact a gleaming piece of high-tech stainless steel that, as is imparted to us, lies at the heart of some of the most modern kitchens in Spain and around the globe. In short, Josper is said to be the world’s best hand-made grill.

It combines a grill and an oven in a single machine, and is aimed at the demanding hotel/restaurant/café sector, where it is highly rated. At Baltazár Grill they like to say that Josper’s famed reputation as the hottest indoor double-ventilated closed-door charcoal grill means it is found in the kitchens of some of the world’s top chefs, including Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, both Brits. And at Baltazár they use only the highest quality charcoal from Argentina to fire their grill, lest Josper feel his/her talents are not being fully exploited.

As well as taking pride in its equipment, the restaurant is quick to point out that it is also careful about ingredients. With beef, Baltazár’s owners say they prefer cuts that true connoisseurs value the most but which might be unknown to many. United States Department of Agriculture prime beef from Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, and 21 days dry aged beef from Styria, Austria, are fed into Josper.

The restaurant uses dry aged duroc pork from Styria and Hungary. This breed originated in the United States and the Baltazár people have found it to have very consistent high quality – and it loves their grill, they say. Duck liver and thigh come from a family supplier in Békés, Hungary, and only Hungarian free-range chicken is used, especially bred for the restaurant on a small farm in Tolna county. Sauces and jams are all home-made, prepared in season from top ingredients.

Chargrilled burger varieties list spicy tuna, blue cheese beef, vegan (with chickpeas, soybeans, coriander and sweet chili relish) and the house variety with maple bacon and aged cheddar cheese.

The hard-working Josper produces free-range chicken thigh, whole seabass with spiced gremolata, BBQ baby back ribs with crunchy slaw, rib eye steak from a farm in the USA, veal tomahawk chop with herby butter, and a beef fillet Argentinian. Hungarian classics run to pike perch with parsley potatoes and lemon butter sauce, chicken paprikash with buttered dumplings, beef goulash soup with potatoes and fresh homemade bread, and grilled duck liver with creamy potato puree.

Baltazár Grill advertises simple but creative gourmet street food with vegetarian options. Wines are said to be the most notable products of mostly the Carpathian Basin area.

# Baltazar interior

The restaurant is part of the Zsidai Gastronomy Group, a Budapest family business with a history of 36 years that runs 20 restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs and two smart luxury boutique hotels in the Hungarian and Austrian capitals and Marbella, Spain.

Owner Roy Zsidai, who is a member of all significant gastronomic associations such as Bocuse d’Or and the Pannon Gastronomic Academy, lays his reputation on the line by declaring that hospitality and gastronomy are not only a profession in the family, they are their life's passion. The Zsidai business philosophy is based on love of Budapest city and belief in the highest quality, he declares. Their mission is to raise the bar, to elevate modern-day Hungarian cuisine and revive its international reputation.

Monthly Blackboard Specials are offered. From August 10, for example, diners were offered Chilled tomato soup with ham and smoked quail egg for HUF 1720, Grilled octopus with mashed potatoes for HUF 2860, Spinach risotto with grilled salmon for HUF 6740, Pork fillet and lecho with squash for HUF 3820 and Cold cottage cheese dumpling with plum for HUF 1780.

Next door is the Baltazár boutique hotel, which says the eclectic nature of the public spaces at the restaurant have been carried on into all 11 stylish rooms and suites. No detail is said to have been overlooked, and each individually themed luxury guestroom has its own bohemian spirit featuring an innovative mix of colour, texture, artwork and graphic design.

# Baltazar interior

The rooms all come appointed with original vintage and modern furnishings and handcrafted local limestone bathrooms, complemented by tailor-made amenities and technology. For instance, the smart lighting system can be adjusted to your mood.

The Budapest Times would have liked to take a look but all 11 rooms were booked out. And the restaurant was doing pretty impressive business too.

Baltazár Budapest
Országház u. 31, Castle District
Grill phone: (+36-1) 300-7050
Hotel phone: (+36-1) 300-7051

Nibbles to share HUF 1640-4280
Soups, salads HUF 1780-3760
Hungarian Classics HUF 3360-6220
Josper Grill HUF 3360-9680
Desserts HUF 1840-2680

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