We’ve walked up the Andrassy to Octagon – one of the many lovely green squares with promenades of eateries in city of Budapest – today, for lunch at Menza.
Menza – Hungarian for ‘school canteen’ – is anything but. Every table outside is packed on this unusually warm (26’) Septembers day. Young professionals with their laptops open and groups of fashionable men & women spill out on to the walkway from underneath the wide awnings. There’s definitely an institution vibe about it and a great buzzing atmosphere.
Menza offers a special 2 course lunch menu, that changes daily, for 990 Hft (A$4.50). Designed as a ‘power lunch’, it’s a light, quick and cheap meal. This printed weekly specials menu offers no English translation, so we know this isn’t just another tourist trap.
Todays, Wednesdays, menu is creamed corn soup with popcorn to start then fried (every thing here is prefaced with the word ‘fried’) zucchini with rice and aioli. We both order this along with a cabbage salad and a homemade beetroot salad to share.
The corn soup is light, sweet and fresh with buttery salted pop corn croutons.
The zucchini’s are fried in bread crumbs and unfortunately have more batter than zucchini on them, but they’re still tasty, accompanied by half a plate of aioli and oily rice. It’s impossible to finish all of it – I’d feel sick – but the woman next to me manages to devour half a deep-fried chicken and salad drowned in sour cream… Surely not everyone eats like this at every meal?!
Eat with the locals at Menza. Great location, value and atmosphere.
Score: 7.5 Plates (out of 10)
Menza – 1061 Liszet Ferenc ter 2, Budapest – 061/4131482 – www.menzaetterem.hu