Costes Izakaya, the Contemporary Asian Fine Bistro & Bar in Budapest

  • 11 Apr 2023 1:27 PM
Costes Izakaya, the Contemporary Asian Fine Bistro & Bar in Budapest
In the autumn of 2022, Costes Izakaya, the newest restaurant of the Costes Group, opened in the heart of Budapest's city centre. The meeting of cultures inspired the name of the restaurant.

The Costes Izakaya team believes that Costes, as a brand, has become a kind of synonym for quality in domestic gastronomy in the last decade, thanks to their Michelin-starred restaurants.

Furthermore, it seemed almost obvious that they should present Far Eastern flavors more clearly in their restaurant portfolio, given that their company's Corporate Executive Chef (operating fine dining restaurants), Márk Molnár, had returned to Hungary with decades of experience in Asian cuisine.

This is how the name Izakaya came about, which is derived from the character of a restaurant and was inspired by the hospitality industry concept that is prevalent in Asian, particularly Japanese culture.

What is the meaning of ‘izakaya’?

Izakayas were originally Japanese sake shops where customers came not only to buy food but also to sit down and eat and even order food along with alcoholic drinks after work. Nowadays, the meaning of izakaya has become broader to primarily characterize the bistro style that provides Asian cuisine globally.

The food in an izakaya is a little more filling than in a tapas or mezze bar, but the dishes are still considered "small plate". Most dishes are to be shared, allowing everyone around the table to sample a variety of dishes.

Incorporating these features as a tradition, Costes Izakaya team created a concept where the increasingly popular "sharing" concept and the relaxed, informal atmosphere resonate, while also using the best quality ingredients to prepare their dishes with distinct flavors.

A fine bistro with a strong Asian vibe

The restaurant features an oriental atmosphere with Asian cultural symbolism like rice lamps, plus green plants.

The Costes Izakaya team uses the term "fine bistro" to emphasize the special quality, even if it causes some confusion. They combine traditional and modern kitchen technologies in the same way that contemporary fine artworks are combined with antique ornaments.

This relaxed but high-quality atmosphere is complimented by occasional live DJ sets providing a relevant musical background. Guests are welcome to pop in just for one of their special drinks after booking a seat at the bar. Of course, they hope that their dishes will be the most appealing element, which is why people will find great classic Asian dishes as well as many unique, original creations.

In addition, Zoltán Szabó (Corporate Executive Bar Manager of Costes Group) has selected several numbers of exclusive drinks for the new place. As part of the beverages, a selection of organic wines paired with food has a prominent role, which is becoming increasingly popular, showcasing both domestic and international brands.

They interpret Far Eastern flavors freely; they don't refrain from using traditional Hungarian ingredients like the Mangalica or "csusza pasta" and have selected ingredients and flavors from the best of Latin American and Mediterranean cuisine as well.

The only thing they insist on is that the food be delicious and exciting. If guests are experienced enough, they can eat with chopsticks; if they're daring enough, they can eat with their bare hands. There are no restrictions.

Open kitchen, open heart

It is always exciting to be a guest and follow the process of food preparation. At Costes Izakaya's open kitchen, the kitchen team, led by Barnabás Hack (Head Chef) and Lajos Takács (Costes Group Senior Sous Chef and Head Baker), roast Wagyu steaks on a Japanese robata grill, serves scallop or cooks truffle Mangalica gyoza before the eyes of the guests.

The concept is the brainchild of Márk Molnár who has worked as a chef in around ten countries in twenty years. He is obsessed with Japanese cuisine and his decades of experience are reflected in the restaurant's menu.

In addition to the a’la carte menu, guests can also get a taste of the essence of Costes Izakaya's cuisine through a 6-course tasting menu, which can even be accompanied by a sake pairing for a truly authentic experience.

Click here to virtually visit Costes Izakaya

Photo credit: Viszlay Márk 

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