Wednesday night, Evan organized a group dinner at Malomto for some friends. We first found the restaurant in our Time Out guide — it was listed as one of their top 5 restaurants in Budapest — and we went there for dinner on our birthday in July (the photo is from that dinner). Evan also went another time, when his parents came to visit.
The restaurant has a modern yet cozy feel, with large pieces of art on the beige walls, white tablecloths and an architectural grouping of thin metal lights coming down from the ceiling over the bar. There is also a large outdoor deck that looks out on a small thermal lake.
For a nice restaurant with quite reasonable prices and a nicely stocked bar, though, we’ve found that it’s always empty. Wednesday night, we were the only party there, and on our earlier visits there couldn’t have been more than one or two other tables of people. We’re not sure what the issue is — it is on a relatively quiet street and it isn’t right in the center of town, but it really isn’t too far out of the way, and we’ve had a consistently good experience there.
The food is a contemporary twist on international classics. I started with a hearty mushroom and garlic salad that came with toast, and Evan had yogurt-marinated mozarella with tomatoes and basil that was nice and light. Other people in our group had the calamari salad, and the avocado salad (which Evan and I had in July and led to our realization that Hungarians need some lessons on using avocados–to be fair, though, everything in the salad other than the avocado was good). The soup selection looked nice, too.
For our main courses, Evan ordered duck with chocolate chili sauce and pistachio strawberry risotto. He enjoyed the duck, but really, the centerpiece of this dish is the risotto — it’s like an ice cream flavor brought to the main course. And while it sounds like it could end up being a gimmicky disaster, it’s lightly sweet, nutty and looks great with its pink-and-green color combination. The chocolate sauce could have used a bit more chili, but it complemented the rest of the meal nicely.
I ordered mushroom ravioli, which was served in a large portion and had greens, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese on top. It was good, though not the best pasta I’d ever had. The other good thing about the vegetarian options, though, is that there are 3 entrees to choose from.
Other people had steak filets and Indonesian chicken, and they all seemed happy with their dishes. The service was also quick, and the waiters never let our wine glasses go empty.
We were disappointed to find out that we couldn’t order the chocolate souffle for dessert, but were pleasantly surprised with both the chestnut brulee and walnut tart, which were delicious and different from what we’d normally order. And though I’m not a big fan of the digestif, they had a nice selection that went far beyond palinka.
Then after our nice dinner, a few of us went to Cafe Vig to hang out for a bit, and though the place had a nice relaxed atmosphere and we were seated by a nice tropical fish tank, it was one of the smokiest places I’d ever been. I know I’m a spoiled California kid not used to smoking indoors, but this was just ridiculous.