A “Shed” with miracles on the far west of Hungary
Pajta restaurant: beetroot variations with Kristinus Róka
Őrség National Park is a charming land where the concept of streets is unknown, the enchanting rural houses are spotted around like dots on a mushroom cap. This idyllic region has a Michelin recommended restaurant with a recently renewed menu due to the new chef. Having dinner here is like eating in the forest – the building is made of wood and the large windows help us feel part of nature. ‘Pajta’ means ‘Shed’ or more precisely ‘Barn’, but what a barn it is! A barn worth travelling to the west border of Hungary.
Address: 7 Templomszer, Őriszentpéter 9941, Hungary
Distance from Budapest: nearly 3 hours by car
From Vienna: 2.5 hours by car
9-course degustation dinner with wine pairings: 46 000 HUF / 120 EUR
Too many coincidences
On Hungarianwines.eu recommend restaurants from time to time, thus this article is not an exception, yet the reason for mentioning Pajta now is a series of coincidences. I grew up in a small town at the gate of Őrség, therefore this region is always precious to me. I know Gábor Cseke, the sommelier of the restaurant personally, I participated in the sommelier championship when he became the champion in Hungary and later. I also saw him at the European Championship in Alsace. There was a recent interview with the new chef on Telex, a leading independent online news portal. On top of all this my food connoisseur son has enjoyed a degustation dinner recently with his girlfriend. They were impressed by the food, the wines and the service as well. What is more, one his favourite wines among the pairings was Kristinus Róka, a rosé from a biodynamic estate, which is close to our heart – our last Gettogether event took place there.
The beetroot case
The previous chef cooked local dishes, while the new chef, István Akács believes that since he is not local, it would not be honest. Akács has trained in several top restaurants including the 3-star Noma in Denmark and cooked in many countries Mexico. He inserts a bit from each of his memories into the plates of the degustation menu of Pajta, but local impressions are not excluded either. In the Telex interview by Bori Ács he gave an example: a woman living nearby had an outstanding beetroot crop, but her wholesale merchant did not buy it, so she was in big trouble. Akács decided to help her so he put a beetroot dish on the menu. The beetroot comes onto the plate with goat cheese, and the different textures due to different techniques elevate the root vegetable to a different level.
The wine partner is Róka by Kristinus, a rosé made of 100% Zweigelt grape on the south shore of Balaton. The wine matured in stainless steel tank after spontaneous fermentation, unfined and unfiltered. The natural flavours of the wine nicely correspond with the earthy tones of the beetroot. On this is just one of the fascinating pairings.
(By Ágnes Németh)