From a very young age, I can still recall people wearing Hard Rock Café T-shirts with the name of a city printed on them. The legendary restaurant chain opened in Budapest a little over ten years ago, and in 2022 the Hard Rock Hotel opened its doors. Now we had the chance to try some of the most exciting dishes from the new menu at the hotel’s restaurant, Sessions, and also to see how creating a new album for a band is like assembling a menu, and to discover that even though something looks like icing sugar, it can still taste like pork.
The Hard Rock brand’s most devoted fans are willing to travel thousands of kilometers to get a badge, eat at as many restaurants and stay in as many hotels as possible. As we were listening to this, a family was coming out of a shop in the hotel lobby with matching T-shirts on mom, dad, and daughter, so it soon became clear that this was not just some marketing ploy.
The hotel’s restaurant on Nagymező Street is determined to attract not only foreign guests, many of whom are consciously traveling here but also the local public. To this end, they offer a lunch menu for those working in the area (and further afield), as well as live music and a DJ to ensure that the pre-weekend party or even the event itself is as pleasant as possible. Of course, that alone might not be enough, so they offer a wide selection of wines, signature cocktails, and exciting gins. If you’re stuck for choice, you can take the Sessions personality test to find out which drink suits you best.
Under the guidance of Gábor Szuhánszki, an international, yet not clichéd menu has been created, where both foreign and local guests will find what they are looking for. What exactly does this mean in practice? Burgers, sirloin steaks, and fish are of course all available, but Goulash soup and duck breast are also featured on the menu. The latter, by the way, is special because it comes with powdered Mangalica bacon, which, combined with its tendency to tickle the senses, makes for quite an amazing experience.
The Sessions’ menu must be in line with the Hard Rock name, keeping the dishes that have been tested in many parts of the world but adding something that is unique to Hungary. Exactly like a band recording a new album: they want to serve their fan base, yet innovate, and appeal to those who have been less open to them.
The success is guaranteed for Sessions, if only because the desserts are pastry chef Balázs Enzsöl’s brainchild. What is the result? For one, it’s easy to identify, as the guitar-shaped mousse is easily associated with Hard Rock. On the other hand, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a rock star: intense and charismatic, with a touch of alcohol.
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Photos: Ati Boldog