It was my brother’s birthday, so we wanted to celebrate with him by dining out, but we did not have any ideas about where to go. My mom suggested Oktogon Bisztro because she had been there once and the price, 1190 HUF for an all you can eat meal, sounded really agreeable. I had some doubts, though. We got there at the peak of lunchtime, so we were quite lucky to find a table – it turned out we had to hunt down the table for ourselves because that is the way it goes at Oktogon Bisztro. We also learnt that it is 1190 HUF if you order something to drink. Without drinks, it is 1390 HUF, which is still agreeable considering that a menu in a fast food restaurant costs more these days.
The design and decoration of the place is quite simple: on the left black, on the right cream-colored walls. I still can’t make up my mind how to describe the style. However, as the restaurant is situated on the corner of the street, it has huge windows on two sides letting the sun brighten the lot. There are more than 20 tables and a few seats for one. It might seem at the first look that everyone has enough space, but when everybody jumps up every five minutes to refill their plates, leaving their chairs in the middle of the room, one may have to slalom through the room until they get back to their table. This lack of space applies to the counters as well, where the food is served. Sometimes one has to tackle through a traffic jam of hungry and desperate customers who all wait in line to the meat stand. The dessert stand is not that popular, though.
What I really appreciated about the different courses on offer was that most of them were part of the traditional Hungarian cuisine. Although I did not find gulyás, but I found stew, meat fried in breadcrumbs, sausages, székelykáposzta, wide variety of főzelék (a thick type of vegetable dish), and pickled vegetables. As in every restaurant one could have pasta or pizza if they wanted something ordinary. For me, the food was quite salty – and I had a bite of all main courses – , but my family and I try to cut down on salt as much as possible, so my opinion on something being salty or not might not be authoritative. Nevertheless, the desserts were still waiting for me to soothe down the salty taste on my tongue. We could choose from four colors of little pieces of cakes: yellow, green, brown, and pink. My mother and I decided to share one from each hoping for a variety in flavor. However, they were all just the same: pudding like filling with an after-taste that slightly resembled some kind of fruit, chocolate, or vanilla.
This dessert incident disappointed me a bit, but when I returned to Oktogon Bisztro a few weeks later, all bad experiences with regard to dessert were forgiven. The second time I ate lunch there, the courses on offer were almost the same except for a few changes – such as I could have one of my favorite main courses: rakott krumpli (layered potato with boiled eggs and sausage). The little cakes were there too, but this time they shared the fridge with chocolate ice-cream, and if someone was open-eyed enough they could find stíriai metélt (thin pasta with cottage cheese baked in the oven) and could pour it with jam or powdered sugar at the far end of the counter. After eliminating all bits and pieces of stíriai metélt, I could finally leave the restaurant with a round belly and a content smile. Moreover, I am quite sure I will suggest it to anyone who wants to try Hungarian food at fair prices.
Address: 1067, Budapest Teréz körút 23
Hours: Monday- Sunday: 08-24
Website: http://www.gastlandbisztro.hu/ (under construction)