From now on Vonyarcvashegy will be a mandatory destination for all connoisseurs. Bock Bisztró Balaton has opened, the place that after a while will be embarrassing not to have been to. We warned you.
Bock Bisztró, after its two restaurants in Budapest and another in Copenhagen, is now expanding at Lake Balaton. The restaurant chain trademarked by Jószef Bock, wine-cultivator and chef, Lajos Bíró reinterprets the dishes of Hungarian cuisine.
One of the missions of Bock Bisztró’s kitchen is to bring into, or back into public knowledge the innards that are acknowledged abroad but are less popular in Hungary as well as the non-mainstream meat parts, such as kidney and brains, rooster’s testicle or ox-cheek. (By the way the latter is popular under the name "Ox-cheek retro”, and it’s been impossible to remove it from the menus of Budapest restaurants for years.) Of course, this doesn’t mean that those who love poultry and fish as well as vegetarians should carefully avoid the establishment. We will return to the menu soon.
The Vonyarcvashegy Zenit Hotel Balaton is home to the latest Bock Bisztró that has also been tested by us. Bock Bisztró Balaton commenced at Helikon Taverna, which is part of the hotel, this was the center of the vineyard of the Keszthely Festetics family from the beginning of the 19th century till World War II.
The restaurant operates in a franchise-system, which means that not only a significant portion of the menu is identical with that of the Budapest Bock Bisztrós, but also that Lajos Bíró insists on the Bock-standard. The staff was trained in the Budapest restaurants and the local chefs were trained by Viktor Varjú, executive chef at the kitchen of Zenit. Lajos Bíró also revealed that the standard will be continuously inspected: their well-experienced regular patrons and members of their Budapest staff will be testing the establishment often.
About 70 percent of the menu of Bock Bisztró Balaton is identical with that of Bock Bisztrós, 30 percent consists of traditional dishes of the region, naturally in the "Bock Bisztró" style. In practice this means that the Festetics fisherman’s soup was turned into the one notch nobler fish-soup with trout and crab-tail while the "Zala toddling crepe reloaded" is an originally cottage-cheese filled, vanilla crepe’s reincarnation with raisin sponge cake and English cream.
The "Tasziló" roast beef with chopped and fried onions, is a sirloin prepared with sous vide technology. It’s named after Count Tasziló Festetics II, for whom the Princess of Monaco, Mary Hamilton, was willing to be divorced and to forsake her noble rank and fortune. Lajos Bíró also meddled with Göcsej mushroom soup, but unfortunately we didn’t find out how this dish was reborn. Unfortunately, at the official commencement wine dinner on February 20th, this emblematic dish wasn’t on the menu.
However, there were several surprising turns of events, flicks in the style we are used to at Bock Bisztró. For example the soup was served in the middle of the five-course dinner, and after one of the “great red wines” of Bock wine-cellars, Cabernet Franc Selection, they served a light Rheine reisling. (Of course the captivating personality of Lajos Bíró, the author of the cookbook entitled “I am too much – Unabashed delicacies, scandalous fine foods”, left its mark on the wine dinner as well.)
By the way, the appetizer was smoked raw salami with St. Jacob's shell, this was followed by a course named Meat-jellied sirloin tartar "interestingly". Fortunately, the dish was more imaginative than its name:
Horseradish-cream soup served with red beet dumplings was the most popular with us, then at the fourth course things started to get rough. However, the "Buttered breast of veal with marrow-bone", as a result of its size and calorie content was too much even for the experienced riders. Well, Bock Bisztró was never a weight loss diet genre.
By the way, the restaurant serves about 70 varieties of wine, of these 20 are bottled. Beside Balaton wines, you can also taste the wines of Bock Wine-cellars, and whoever is more interested in the wines of the region should go down to the interactive winery exhibition hall located under the Taverna, which commenced in October.
Bock Bisztró Balaton is an exciting culinary destination that fills a gap, we hope that it will be deserving of our related hopes. We will test the performance of the actually operational restaurant at a later time.
Source of the photos: bockbisztrobalaton.hu and Zenit Hotel Balaton.