Review: Costes Downtown

23 April 2017

I took it slowly on what I suppose is my final morning in Budapest. This town has lost all charms for me, from the overbearing stench of Viktator over everything, to the poor restaurant experiences on this trip. Sigh, it was such a wonderful place just a few years ago…

I headed out and went for one last experience in town before my late afternoon flight out, hoping for a much better experience than last night’s disaster at Salon. Lunch was a tasting menu at Costes Downtown — the newest 1-Michelin in town. The original Costes (also 1-star) I enjoyed a few years ago, let’s see how this “more relaxed” version turn out.

I got there after fighting through hoardes of tourists and locals meandering slower than a pack of exhausted donkeys, needing a drink. The martini worked perfectly…almost a giant one! I told them to surprise me with the tasting menu, so let’s see how it goes. First amuse were some crisps…

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Which promptly broke apart in my hand sending things flying everywhere…oops… In any case, tartar and cream were both good, though I was a bit more annoyed with the mess… The next amuse easier to handle…

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Salmon tartar under the rather voluminous garlic cream-foam hybrid. Not bad, and I took my time to finish that rather large martini before the tasting menu started. After a nice pour of my paired wine we began with mackerel.

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Far better than the disaster at MÁK, but was nothing spectacular. I find this desire to constantly source externally frustrating — perhaps not helped by the chef who is not local. But if you compare this to Senses in Warsaw, a foreign chef there too but a completely different ethos — and you can taste the difference. Oh well…

Another good pour before the next course, octopus.

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As someone who enjoys the texture of octopus, I never like this preparation of thin slices. I think it wastes the possibilities — unless the texture of the product was not up to par. In any case, another rather ordinary dish. I just am not feeling it so far…

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Next up things finally picked up with a very good quail. You use local stuff, you get better taste, simple as that. The addition of the quail egg was cute, though the cous and various other bits didn’t do that much for me. Base was too thick and heavy — the Central European disease…

So far okay, easily the best of the 3 tasting menus in Budapest this trip. But not blown away at all. Wine pours have been nice, which was always the saving grace here on this trip. Next up, beef.

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This tasted pretty good but it was clearly foreign, so I asked — and it turned out to be Argentinian. Why? Very good cattle in Hungary, perhaps better for certain preps, then why not feature it? There seems to be a fear of being a localvore in Hungary despite all the national pride in this country, why? The manager got wind of my comments and we had a good chat about it. I still wish it was sourced locally tho…

That was actually the end of the savoury part of the meal. A little underwhelming to be honest as we moved into the cheeses…

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A blend of local and foreign stuff, it did its job. At least we got proper stuff to put the cheese on now, not a fluffy loaf like last night… Then a pre-dessert…

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Not bad, a bit of oddly-placed tropical fruit here. But I also noticed that when the manager and the more experienced staff were around, the other server were goofing off a little and I could not get their attention. Sigh…there seems to be a serious lack of professionalism with the service sector here, an ongoing trend. Budapest has changed so much in the last few years — for the negative, sadly.

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The final dessert was nice, quite a large portion to be honest. It filled me up, and I’ll be honest the chocolate was very good. A had a last drink waiting for a cab as I was running late, and the manager comped it, which was very nice. I headed out satisfied, but feeling it could have been so much better.

As I ride out towards Ferihegy for what is most likely the final time, I feel sad. I have come to really like Budapest until now, as it seems to be regressing under the oppresive force of Viktator. Well, it’s farewell to this beautiful city…

Off to Montenegro…

Costes Downtown
Vigyázó Ferenc utca 5
Budapest, Magyarország

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One thought on “Review: Costes Downtown

  1. Pingback: Review: Marée | melhuang1972

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