Hungary’s 42 Restaurant Looks Beyond its Michelin Star to 'True Innovation'

  • 20 Sep 2023 2:36 PM
Hungary’s 42 Restaurant Looks Beyond its Michelin Star to 'True Innovation'
When a restaurant receives a Michelin star, you can say with confidence that it represents exceptional quality, and its managers can proudly declare that their mission has been successful. They could sit back and rightly believe that they only need to maintain the same level of quality in the future.

However, at 42 in the heart of Esztergom, they didn’t do that. In fact, it seems like earning the star was just the beginning, a stepping stone to take things further.

The dinner menu at 42 is brimming with ideas, the service has become even smoother, the wine list more sophisticated, and the overall experience is light, entertaining and exciting.

The foie gras burger with apple and the lecsó stew are brilliant, both deserving their own documentary on Netflix.

The lukewarm summer cabbage is memorable, the sea bream refreshing and intense, and the smoke and ice elements on the menu are there for a reason.

There are certainly many challenges ahead for 42. One of them is relatively new: monetising the Michelin star.

It's much easier for restaurants in Budapest to attract foreign guests since as that’s where they are anyway.

For places like Platán in Tata and 42 in Esztergom, a special effort is required to attract wealthy visitors. It’s an unprecedented situation, with no established strategy – and requires true innovation.

This is clearly unrelated to the kitchen, but it shows that a 360-degree perspective is needed if they want to make an establishment successful. The star is important, but not everything.

The restaurant quickly realised that it needed accommodation for guests. This led to the creation of the 42 Boutique Hotel, a gem located in the same building as the restaurant.

This mini establishment consists of six suites and three design apartments, providing the perfect base for a day in the city.

What makes the 42 experience even more complete is Piac42, the little sister of the main restaurant, which opened at the beginning of summer. Here, you can have breakfast and lunch, and enjoy dishes at affordable prices.

“We thought a lot about what could make our breakfast unique,” said chef Ádám Barna. “In the end, we decided on a nine-course menu composed of many small details. We start with whipped homemade sour cream with vanilla and sour cherries.

There's a mint and parsley green apple juice. As I come from Békéscsaba, I can’t live without buttered bread with sausage, here served with tomato salad and chicken liver pâté.

There's a Japanese omelette with back fat, followed by the signature dish, bundáskenyér, French toast, with superior caviar. It might sound funny, but sour cream and caviar are friends. We also have Tekeresvölgyi cheese with apricot and walnut, and a plum jam doughnut”.

At 42, you can embark on a perfect culinary adventure: a Michelin-starred dinner at the restaurant in the evening, then by a night in their boutique hotel, a nine-course breakfast in the morning, followed by a walk around Esztergom’s historic city centre, and then lunch at Piac42.

The current 42 is more polished and confident than it was in December of last year, and highly recommend for those who haven’t yet visited. The big question is, where will the restaurant be another year from now?

Click here to virtually visit 42 Restaurant online

Original source:

Words by Peterjon Cresswell for
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website

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