True to my word I went back to Vinyl & Wood intending to grab another coffee/croissant combo but everybody must have had the same idea as they were exhausted. Had to settle for the sausage sandwich.
It was nice but the kitchen staff must have spent some of their youth in the Scouts as it took an eternity to undo the multitude of knots. Next time I’d ask for it heated, that amount of solid cheese is hard going.
I had pre-purchased my ticket for the train to Slovakia and it needs to be printed at the station’s ticketing machines so I headed up that way. Best to have it done early as I have little faith in the entire ticketing system. One less thing I have to do at the last minute. Decided to take the long way in an effort to discover places of Pest I hadn’t come across. Needless to say I lost my sense of direction fairly quickly given there were no memorable landmarks to guide me and my phone’s internet wasn’t set to roaming. After a couple of hours ambling around I needed to get to find a toilet so I planned on walking into the next restaurant, offering them the cover charge for the toilet and then continuing on my merry way. When it comes to toilets it’s a seller’s market. I was at that stage where I would happily empty my pockets at any price if it meant I could empty my bladder.
The next place I found that I was sure had a restroom with public access was an eatery which was proving popular based on the number of people that were piling through the doors. Crossing the street I then made my way inside where I reached for my wallet in am effort to expedite proceedings. At the same time a staff member grabbed my arm and dragged me towards the only unoccupied table and chairs in a dark corner of the room. He couldn’t speak English, I know no Hungarian, this was going to get awkward in next to no time.
Now seated and with absolutely no idea what was happening, I ask “toilet, toilet?” repeating it twice to convey the impending urgency. He narrows his gaze and starts tapping his watch. I am sitting trying to process what is happening, paralysed as if I had won the lotto. He yells, “One hour. Eat. Buffet Hungary” and slings a plate in my direction as if it was a frisbee and I was his canine companion.” I grab my plate and he points me to some stairs which inturn lead to a room housing a mountain of food. Meanwhile I am scanning the room to ascertain the whereabouts of a toilet. Find the toilet, survey the food options and formulate a gameplan was my order of operations.
Managed to locate the toilet which had a sign to say “Customers only! Otherwise pay full buffet”. Why couldn’t they have succinct instructions like this out the front so I had an idea what I was getting myself in for? I moved the bezel on my watch to make sure that I wouldn’t exceed the hour given – I doubt any discretion would be given should the hour be exceeded. I couldn’t walk to the toilet with the plate in my hand so I swing past the buffet on a dry run like a nosey neighbour to see what all the fuss was about. The food looked surprisingly better than what I was expecting. There I reaquaintted my clean plate with the rest of its clan and ducked to the toilet before my urethra resembled an inflated party balloon.
I’d wasted time and had nothing in my stomach to show for it, my jaws were yet to get out of first gear. My approach wasn’t going to be quantity, rather I opted for discovery. A starting point was going to be items I hadn’t tried before as this was as much an educational exercise as a weight gaining one. There were no tourists in sight, this was a place that catered for the true believers only. Traditional Hungarian food was the only thing that the kitchen staff were going to dish up today.
First up was deep fried cheese with some Hungarian style cabbage, pickles and an egg-something. The cheese was crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside as expected. Cabbage was cabbagey and the mystery egg dish was mysterious. It’s a pity you can’t eat fried cheese every day.
Next strategic target, the bain-marie housing the stews and soups. A couple of the stews had familiar names which I had eaten before so I chose the remaining one. Unfortunately it had a sign mentioning livers and gizzards in it amongst other Hungarian words. In a man of principle so I couldn’t gloss over it because of some offal. To my relief it was surprisingly inoffensive but I am not going back for a repeat performance. Similar to a lambs fry in soup form (if there is such a thing?)
What else looks new? Didn’t catch the name of this one as small details were forgotten in this race against time. Fortunately this looks light, a broth with Hungarian noodles and bulk carrots.
Lastly, a rice dish with meat. Salty, meaty goodness. With it I paired some sides of pickles and vegetables because you can’t live on gizzards alone. The rice was that good I had another plate once I checked my watch, it indicated 35 minutes to go. That dollop of hot sauce, yum. I could afford to take my time and savour the dessert fridge.
There was a total of five desserts but I showed restraint and only had four, deciding it would be best if the sponge that looked like a black forest cake and I don’t cross paths today. The first was a piece of pie that had been drowned in a thin custard. These were waiting on the fridge assembled. Apple was the main pie ingredient, if I knew that it was going to be apple I would have given it a wide berth but I grabbed the bottle because I thought it was going to be poppy seed or something else uniquely Hungarian.
Starting at the top left the other desserts were a sweetened layered cream and arrowroot-like biscuit mouthful. There was a chocolate slice with a custard top and lastly there was a cheese curd slice.
There was still half an hour left on the clock but I had a good stern talking to myself and waived the white flag. I probably the only person on the planet who gained 2kg from going to the toilet. Was shocked when I went to pay, the buffet came in at $8AUD (including a drink).
Time to walk off those carbs. Three hours later I feel a cup of coffee is on the cards and call into a cinema/cafe called Kino. Research suggests they have a reputation for a great all day breakfast but you can’t have one of those after my lunch binge. I opt for the coffee but being Hungary it would be rude not to have a slither of cake as well – I can’t afford to get the locals offside. This cake is very famous in these parts, the flodni. Layers of poppy seed, walnut, apple and jam. Mouthwatering.
A pattern is emerging here, no dinner for me again tonight. The body is still processing the buffet madness. A walk at night when the city lights up and the sidewalks are abuzz will do me just fine. Better check to see if I packed that scarf.