If PCG had a prize for the newcomer and biggest hope of the year I wouldn’t have to think a lot about my nominee. I would hand out the award right to Hrabal Pécs that opened in November.
The Czech-themed restaurant that can seat about 60 people is named after famous writer Bohumil Hrabal, who delivered great satires of everyday life in the Eastern Block. No wonder the stylish and cosy atmosphere is enhanced by open books on the walls. I think the writer would have liked that.
Another great circumstance about the place is its location in Irgalmasok street. Underground venue Áfium Restaurant had a couple of iconic years here but faded away. One of their best dishes used to be the bean soup with smoked pork knuckle served in a loaf and to my surprise Hrabal has this superb dish too. Actually I hope it’s superb since I didn’t have the chance to test it but I’m assuming that it’s good because everything we tried was very good.
Beyond some traditional Czech recipes there are more generic and somewhat Hungarian-style dishes too. For our first encounter we ordered pickled sausages that came in a jar with spiced cabbage, onions and toast. It’s not a classic starter but the huge portion could be a great support for a long line of Czech beers available here. Anyway, the main courses were great. The beef stew (HUF1950) was super soft with a very tasty sauce on the dumplings. The pickled vegetables are also of very good quality. Our other main, the knuckle with mushroom sauce and dumplings (HUF1850), was brilliant too, since it’s made of pork meat of extraordinary quality.
I really hope they can maintain this standard of meat on a permanent basis. Soft, juicy, very good taste, just enough spicing. Their weakest link is the coffee, that is made with capsules, and is somewhat overpiced (starting at HUF300). Otherwise I have to go back to taste their huge range of Czech beers.
Update: Since the publication of the article in the print version of PCG I have been to the place again and tried the bean soup. Every forint was worth it (HUF1200) it’s a great weekday dinner for cold winter evenings. I guess the dough on the top is the same as for the dumplings only this time baked in the oven. This is what it looks like:
I also do have to add that you should book a table in advance since it can get crowded in the evenings, and especially on Thu-Fri-Sat.