Before settling into a fine dining meal at Rumour, you’ll need to find the restaurant, a surprisingly challenging task (look for the pastry shop through which the entrance leads). The venue: a windowless high-ceilinged room draped in maroon curtains. The concept: chef’s table, meaning that two dozen or so diners per evening are seated on high chairs in a half moon, cradling the open kitchen where an army of cooks labors with tweezers in hand.
Instead of the fashionable Noma-style locavorism, Rumour's dishes are rooted in the classical French and the science-obsessed modernist gastronomy of the early aughts (some hat tips to Hungary do exist, as with the walnut and buttercream spiked Esterházy torte). Think pockets of kohlrabi ravioli stuffed with creamy scallops in a paradise of textures, colors, and shapes. Charred cauliflower sitting in a rich hollandaise sauce, dotted with fermented and soy-sauce-marinated shimeji mushrooms and drizzled with aged beef, grated table-side. Perfectly executed, technically brilliant plates, one after the other.
Unlike with other fine dining restaurants in Budapest, guests here are mainly Hungarians because the head chef, Jenő Rácz, is a local celebrity with a TV show. There’s a six-course “pre-theater” tasting menu starting at 5:30 pm (€100 per person, or €160 with wine pairing), and a nine-course meal at 8:00 pm, for €150 per person (€220 with wine). Rumour has one Michelin star currently, but the dining experience is emphatically two-star.