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Good coffee is evident, eclair is the cherry on top—Emily Eclair

Nowadays, we come across more and more cafés with specialty labels, not only in Budapest but all over the country. However, this abundance sometimes comes at the expense of quality, as the criteria fade and not only customers but sometimes even the profession becomes confused about what is authentic. But there are hidden gems where the coffee is excellent and the desserts are exceptional. Because in an ideal world, the best things do come together.

Although I keep my eyes on the market, the appearance of Emily Eclair came as a bolt from the blue a few months ago. There was a lot of hype around Etele Plaza anyway, but I was surprised to see a new brand I knew nothing about before. It seemed very well thought out, planned and professional, very “ready”, like a domestic unit of an international chain. As I later found out, I wasn’t the only one who thought so, even though the story is absolutely domestic. The name of David Nagy may be familiar from the circles of TAMP & PULL or Kaffeine—a true visionary who, when he sets his mind to something, makes it happen. He and his friend Gábor Mizser have long thought about starting a joint venture, but life always got in the way. Back in 2015, Gábor opened an ice cream shop in Biatorbágy called Csakafagyi. The brand became very popular; they entered several competitions, but in the end, they closed in 2018. Since then, he has been involved in adult education, but he hasn’t wandered far from gastronomy.

The request to open a café came years ago from the Etele Plaza, which was under construction, but they couldn’t agree, then the pandemic arrived, everything was postponed, and rents collapsed. They thought it was now or never—but they also knew they didn’t want a simple café. Since the market is overcrowded, opening a new place with a sole profile is not necessarily fruitful. A lot of things were already in place, for example, coffee, because he has been working with Attila Molnár for a long time—Attila is the founder/owner of One Eleven coffee roastery, not to mention, he is a multiple Hungarian barista champion. The team was also available, so it was just a matter of finding products that would fit the standards they were used to. Both had previously traveled extensively in Western Europe and were captivated by French confectionery, the world of eclairs, or the simple nobility of filled cake made from choux pastry, based on an old recipe. The base can be flavored any way you like, is suitable for transport because it holds its shape, can be decorated in many ways and is perfect for sneaking in a very diverse range of flavors. Given that few people make it in this country and the quality is variable, the decision was made. The namesake was David’s little daughter, who is herself also an eclair enthusiast. But they didn’t want to limit themselves to just one product, so they added another favorite to the range: the cruffin. This hybrid, which first appeared in San Francisco back in 2013, is exactly what it looks like: a puff pastry folded with meticulous care, baked like a muffin instead of a croissant-form and filled with different creams. In Hungary, it can be caught in one or two bakeries for a while, but it has never been in the spotlight—until now.

Eventually, these two ended up on the counter, complemented by a playful cake pop from a separate supplier. The flavor selection comes from a lot of experimentation. In addition to the biggest favorites (such as Belgian chocolate, pistachio, vanilla raspberry), seasonal flavors are always included on an experimental basis for both products, such as Bounty, aranygaluska (Golden walnut dumplings, a famous Hungarian dessert) or gingerbread. Premium materials and fine details are important, so the eclairs are not only coated but also dipped and decorated one by one. The cruffin is made with the golden rule of 27 layers of dough, which holds its shape well but doesn’t dry out. It’s no secret that they are planning even bolder experiments, harmonizing savory and sweet-savory flavors if their capacity allows. The cakes are rich and filling, so they work well as a hedonistic breakfast as well as a dessert.

Another thing that immediately stands out is the beautiful, rich look of the identity. It’s a credit to the work of Eszter Bertóty, who gave shape to the founders’ vision. The aim was to create a lively, fairytale-like, yet luxurious atmosphere that is not alienating—the abundance of greenery, floral patterns and the appearance of animals immediately set the stores apart from the cacophony of the mall. Speaking of malls, the first few days at Etele were incredibly well-received; they literally couldn’t keep up with the pace, but when they got the invite from Allee, they were like, we can’t say no, we have to ride the wave. So the new unit here, at the end of the new food court, is also waiting with open arms—if you arrive from Újbuda-Központ, the logo shines through the glass façade, it’s easy to find.

They know they have a long way to go and are not in an easy position, as the world of gastronomy is now under pressure from labor shortages and soaring commodity prices. But their vision is clear: they want to make the best eclair in the country. The owners also see the possibility of Emily Eclair growing into a franchise in time if there is interest. They believe that there is room in the city, and indeed the country, for a winning dessert-coffee combination where neither is compromised, especially if it is served in a highly refined environment.

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