Friends, the time has come for another one of our Eastern Europe jaunts where we will re-visit the very aptly named Hungary because that means good food in unassuming vegan treasure troves!
Not only did Hungary make way for my vegan debut of ‘going for pizza,’, but my first time in a Hare Krishna and raw food restaurant! In fact we were overwhelmed by a wealth of modest eating places, entirely veggie/vegan or that had their own vegan menu to speak of.
Sadly this time we’ll only be visiting Budapest; but no matter because it means we get to return to one of our favourite all time vegan restaurants: Napfeynyes (meaning sun-drenched); a vegan place with an extensive pizza menu and set in the cosy bowels of a dimly lit yet not unromantic cellar.
And its the only place I’ve ever had fried cheese, let alone vegan. I know!
We are certainly not its only fans; its revolutionary menu has prompted another of its kind to sprout up in a more centralised location in the inner city. Get in!
In honour of our forthcoming Hungary sojourn (and because I wrote them ages ago) I’m going to publish a series of posts, describing my favourite experiences during our culinary adventures, should you find yourself on the Eastern side of our recently divorced mothership.
Napfeynyes: Budapest (pizzas up to your eyeballs, vegan cheese galore, kievs, meat loaf- you name it, they do it)
Raw 42 Vilnius, Lithuania: Raw food, suspicious waitress’ and hypochondriac boyfriend made this a rather unforgettable half an hour (average time spent in raw food restaurant).
Buddha vegetarian restaurant Riga, Latvia: of course the household name ‘Buddha’ conjures up images of swirly peace symbols, streaming incense, atmosphere steeped with karmic levels of equilibrium and warm, smiley people with big earrings but actually the restaurant was smartly decorated in black, white and gold, with stripes and arabesque print on alternating walls. And the staff hardly smiley or generous in the earring department. Though realising my prejudice akin to beliefs beheld by smug carnivores, I pushed my first impressions aside. Why shouldn’t veggie restaurants be smart with befitting staff? It also didn’t harp on about the fact it was veggie which I think sets a great example for cultivating a mass vegetarian market.
The Raw Garden, Riga, Latvia: Before last year, I’d never really delved into the meaning of ‘raw food’ other than the odd flimsy side salads, which let’s be honest never inspired much hope. However it was in Latvia I discovered raw food could mean so much more than tomato, lettuce and cucumber. And that its almost something of an art form. Not everyone however, apparently would agree.
I suppose the skill and knowledge of composing such a dish could be questionable; they do say ‘it’s all about the timing’ with cooked food. And presentation alone could denote a certain degree of pretension. However I think knowing which flavours complement which, and the creativity involved is definitely a set of skills to be mastered.
Kama Tea Hub: Friendly and bohemian…kind of a far cry from Buddha and the tentative veggie crusaders in Raw!
Loving Hut, Prague, Czech Republic, We have since visited the two (yes two) Loving Huts in Brighton about five times so we feel very spoiled at such a vegan revelation happening in our very city! But I will never forget our first L Hut experience, the overwhelming feeling at the extensive and varied menu, and not having to worry about clandestine dairy in food or drink!
Govinda Hare Krishna restaurant, Prague, Czech Rebuplic: a vegetarian gaff courtesy of Prague’s Hare Krishna community. Lots of vegan-friendly, Indian fare to my pleasant surprise and valued by weight of a nifty, compartmentalised TV style tray! Spacious and Arabesque style design and very humbling environment with helpful staff.