PEr FYI

March 30, 2010

Le Meridien Hotel Budapest…impersonal service at a good location

This headquarters of the Budapest police (read: police station) in the heart of Budapest was converted into the le Meridien Hotel 10 years ago. The style is not modern but the bedrooms and bathrooms are quite spacious. The floor heating is a great thing – heated floors should be obligatory in five star hotels!!!

The hotel is in a great location as it was close to the, Danube river front, Opera House, and St Stephen’s Basilica. The subway station is just around the corner, a few meters away from the hotel. We trained to Vienna from the Keleti Railway Station which was 15 minutes away from the hotel. 

However, the front desk staff, who, though were helpful, exuded the impression that they were just going through the motions and want you out of their faces as quickly as possible. The staff needs more briefing on how to be more out going, friendlier and cordial

This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 29, 2010

Menza, Budapest…a MUST in Budapest

This is the bottomline: the best restaurant in Budapest. If I were to come back to Budapest I this would definitely be the first stop for me.

A place to delight all senses. A good buzzy ambience and the menu selection is the exact essence of the Hungarian dishes’ repertoire …with a modern twist. The food is excellent (yes, it is really that good) and, as I found with most places in Budapest, the staff all spoke a high standard of English.

Being so popular, it is a very busy restaurant, but don’t let that discourage you – either book your table in advance (like me), or if you’re not that organised, just show up and wait. It’ll be worth the wait.

The gulyás soup was prepared traditionally with nice chunks of beef and vegetables in the broth. The Chicken a la Menza was a casserole-type dish mixing large slices of chicken with mushrooms, french fries, and cheese, all topped with a broiled camembert cheese crust on top. The donut filled with goose liver was truly a mouth-watering experience! The veal stew with dumplings was amazing!

Diners can choose a Hungarian wine to complement the meal from the restaurant’s extensive list. I had the best wine in my 16 days in Europe here. I had the Szentgyorhy Hegyi cabernet savignon 2008 Szaszi Pince.

The servers are exceptionally attentive and aware of guest needs, without hovering. The staff waiting on us was attentive and I never felt forgotten while waiting. With great friendly service, and with an attractive retro-vibe all around (though the unique 60s/70s retro style, with orange, green and brown decor, might be a little jarring on some senses), you can’t go wrong with this place. The wallpaper, tablecloths and even bathroom tiles look great! The music is kinda lounge and chill. Very good.

The conclusion: Menza is a stylish place which has not forgotten that a good restaurant is about satisfying and honest food. And the proof is there: it’s always full, with a very relaxed atmosphere at the same time.

A must visit!

March 28, 2010

Tigris Restaurant, Budapest….not as great as it’s made out to be

The classy Tigris Restaurant  could soon earn a Michelin star – the most prestigious restaurant rating there is.

Bolstered by this knowledge, we had our lunch there upon arriving in Budapest and hurriedly dumping our luggages in the hotel.

When thinking of a Hungarian food, I can only come up with goulash and if I am asked to describe it, I would have said it was a heavy thick meaty stew. Turns out, the version I found in Tigrist were none of those things. Goulash was actually a light broth, flavored with paprika, diced veggies and some meat, usually beef.

The ambience – atmosphere and decor – was nice. The service was English-fluent, attentive, professional and friendly.

Though the goulash soup was quite nice, the cutlet of pork in bacon with a selection of beans and peas was pretty bland and not memorable. The meal certainly wasn’t the “best in the world,”…not even the “best in Budapest.” Once again, this is the true truth. I always say it as it is…

 

March 27, 2010

Duna Bella Danube Daytime Sightseeing Cruise…..only if you have nothing else better to do

Filed under: Cruise, Hungary, Travel — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 11:54 pm

Duna (Danube) Bella is an hour-long daytime sightseeing cruise on the Danube, sailing between the splendid vision of Buda and Pest. Headphones are provided for those interested in listening to a running history of the city and its major sights (commentary is available in 30 languages). During the trip we were guided by the 2 parts of the city as “Buda” and “Pest” were telling us their stories about the curiosities along the river. The Danube is a beautiful river but the ramblings of the commentaries over the headphones would put you into a coma and you’ll miss the beauty of the river.

The brochure stated that “champagne or cocktail and a choice of wine, beer or soft drinks” are included. That is false advertising, because  champagne was NOT served, though I requested for it. Instead we had wine and a mocktail.

The crew seemed to be having a party on their own in the glassed-in compartment at the front of the boat. You get the feeling they are have been down this river 1,001 times and are getting through the motions, trying to get it over with.

If you have an hour to kill when in Budapest, go down the Danube in this boat. Otherwise, there are better ways to get to know Budapest. I say it as it is because this is the true truth.

Malev Hungarian Airline…pleasantly surprisingly delightful

Filed under: Airline, Hungary, Travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , — PEr @ 10:56 pm

It was only a 1hr 5min flight from Warsaw to Budapest, but what a pleasantly surprisingly delightful 65 minutes that was! It certainly didn’t start that way.

We had to board through buses and the flight was (forgiveably) slightly late. You know what they say about 1st impressions?!

Service onboard was polite, professional and flawless. We got a (tasty) muffin, a juice and a cup of coffee and efficient service. The cabin crew even smiled!

It was comfortable in cattle-class. The plane was clean, comfortable seats with plenty of space – legroom was generous and seat widths were OK. Budapest airport clean and not congested. All in all, it was a good expereince and I’d have to conclude that Malev offers good value for money. That’s the true truth and I still say it as it is.

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