ESCA studio restaurant
ESCA is a tiny, 16-seat restaurant offering a dinner-only tasting menu in a quiet backstreet of District 7, also known as Budapest’s party district. The intimate, dimly lit space, which features sleek, dark wood finishes and plain walls, couldn’t be more different from the kitsch ruin bars nearby. This open-kitchen studio restaurant is run by young chef/owner Gábor Fehér, who gained experience in Copenhagen and at leading Budapest restaurants before setting up shop here. He is a skillful cook.
In the Scandinavian tradition with minimal cooking times and light sauces, many of ESCA's dishes are simple yet intensely flavorful - I challenge anyone to find a more tender and moist chicken breast in Budapest. Mr. Fehér is also fond of pairing dishes with light vegetable creams: as part of the 5-course tasting menu one might encounter kohlrabi, parsley, artichoke, and kale variations on their plates. Several traditional Hungarian items, like mangalica loin and goulash, are also served.
Compared with other fine dining establishments in Budapest, ESCA studio restaurant offers a more personal fine dining experience because of the intimate space and close proximity to Mr. Fehér and his staff behind the open kitchen. All this indulgence comes at a price of course: the tasting menu costs the equivalent of €60 euros a person, without alcohol. The more accessible TÁBLA, also headed by Mr. Fehér, is next door.