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Slow fashion, slow food | The Garden Studio & Café reborn

Coffee, cocktails, Mediterranean mezzesbagels and iconic Hungarian design brands in one placein the spirit of sustainability. The Garden Studio & Café in Budapest welcomes guests with a new interior, product palette and services. We asked founder-designer Dóri Tomcsányi and co-owner Merve Ilgım Deprem about the novelties.

The Garden Studio moved to Paulay Ede street more than four years ago, also giving home to the shop, studio and workshop of clothing brand Tomcsanyi. According to designer Dóri Tomcsányi, the concept worked quite well, still she felt that they have not reached the full potential of the place. Even though initially Garden Studio was intended for a younger audience, the experience gathered throughout the years showed that the buyers wandering into the store represent an older age group, and thus the needs and habits of this target group also became a priority in the course of the renovation. As a result, now we can also have a coffee specialty and can choose from various vegetarian and vegan mezzes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.

For the realization of the new ideas Dóri partnered up with Merve, who is in charge of the concept and menu of the café and the restaurant. “Dóri and I met four years ago and became good friends in no time. For me, having a cafe/restaurant was an ongoing dream for a long time ever since I moved to Budapest. I think the main reason is that I have spent too much time trying to find a satisfying breakfast place when I first moved here – breakfast is really important to me as in Turkey we spend a good amount of time having breakfast with friends and family. It is not easy to make dreams come true from one day to another, so I started to work on the idea, saved up for the capital, worked in a multinational company for 3 years, and then the circumstances were right enough to make it happen finally. Also I knew that Dóri always wanted to have a coffee shop in The Garden Studio too, and we said why not do it together? The food that I’d like to serve is slow, various, and conscious, and the dresses that Dóri makes have the same features” – Merve told us.

When the Garden opened eight years ago, my brand was still very small, with a collection consisting of only a few pieces. I was still a university student at the time, and so I knew it exactly that I couldn’t and wouldn’t fill a store with my clothes, so I contacted other brands whose clothes and accessories I liked very much. Since then, many of them closed down and Garden also moved to a new place, but the concept remained very similar: hand-made, premium quality designer pieces. The name Garden alludes to the fact how the brands with different identities exist next to each other harmoniously, the same as the different plants and fruit trees do in the garden. Merve had a quite similar concept regarding the café, so we found common grounds shortly in planning the future“– Dóri added.

Merve’s Mediterranean cultural background has a dominant influence on the character of Garden Studio & Café’s food and drinks selection. “Eating alone is not something that you’d prefer in Turkish culture and I personally don’t like to eat alone either” – she highlighted. Starting from this thought, Turkish mezzes became emphatic in composing the menu: guests can select from twenty different mezzes and share them with their friends. One can also find specialties in their menu like the freshly baked simit (a ring-shaped Turkish bread sprinkled with sesame seeds – the Ed.) and can also taste the characteristic Tomcsanyi cocktail.

The same way Dóri pays attention to sustainability and the slow fashion philosophy in her clothing brand, this attitude cannot only be observed in the drinks and food selection, but in the new interior, too. The majority of the furniture are upcycled items, the rails used as clothing stands are the renovated versions of the stands of the previous store, put in a new layout. “The entire design and implementation process took more than eight months, but the result looks and feels exactly how we imagined it. Elegant, cozy and exclusive” – they highlighted. One of the special and iconic elements of the interior is a wall covered with flowers, but the carefully designed restaurant part also has a cozy, homey and exclusive feel to it.

The new interior is complemented by a new product palette, so guests can discover more new designer products on the shelves of Garden Studio, with ethical production and sustainability once again in the focus during their selection. “My favorites amongst the new designers are the jewelry of Franciska Németh, the ceramics of Anett Sáfrán and Grandpa’s unisex clothes. But I don’t want to leave out the ceramics of Kokomo or Susu from the list either, and the clothes of Valentin Szarvas, Nandi, Gabi Veszprémi’s fantastic shoes and bags, and the dog accessories of Madzag should also be mentioned” – Dóri explained.

Dóri and Merve also plan to organize various cultural events and gastro workshops in the future, too. Visit their latest event on October 10, and discover the novelties of Garden Studio & Café yourselves. 

Photos: Balázs Csizik

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