Lovas Kikötő is the kind of place you could drop by on horseback (which would be kind of fitting, as the name means something to do with horses): there’s plenty of space in front of the café/bar for you to tether your four-legged friend. We sat down for a chat with creator-founder Lóránt Csomai to learn more about the tiny village by Alsóörs, the past, the future, the management of Balaton, and the new community space of Lovas.
Lovas is so small many people don’t even know about its existence despite the fact that it’s a stone’s throw away from Balaton, tucked away amid beautiful vineyards, forests, and cool wine cellars. The aim of Lóránt Csomai is to put the tiny settlement on the map: last Sunday he finally launched Lovas Kikötő, which - in line with his intentions - will function as a café, bar, and a community space.
This new establishment is the first harbinger of the new wave that initially emerged in Budapest: the ruin pub style interior definitely makes you feel like you’re hanging out at Káli Kapocs. Similarly to Kapocs, Kikötő is also part of the village’s main street. Lóránt Csomai transformed the former pub to match his taste, and the pieces of furniture you can see inside (including the obligatory sewing machine tables) have been collected over a period of 25 years; you can even find an awesome strandkorb out front (the kind German tourists like to lounge in on the beaches of the Baltic Sea). Parts of the garden are covered and have concrete paving, the rest is pebbly or grassy, but not at all austere. The old school furniture, the little knick-knacks, and plants make the whole atmosphere utterly refreshing.
Lóránt Csomai lived in Budapest for ten years, but he spent every free weekend at Balaton, in the little village of Lovas. His dad had a hand in him becoming a part-time resident of Lovas, and after a while his local friends as well as the cellar and press house in the vineyard came to be synonymous with carefree, relaxing times. Last year he came across the dilapidated pub that had been empty for years, and it took him several months to restore it properly. Just like the renovation, the management of the new business is carried out with the help of family and friends.
“Some Balaton-based catering establishments are very overpriced,” says Lóránt Csomai about his ars poetica, emphasizing several times that he wants to keep his prices low enough to be affordable for local residents. He says the people of Lovas have already discovered Kikötő; the entire guest area was packed on opening day. Csomai also told us how sad he is about the management of Balaton: “in my view, progress is not cramming as many buildings as possible onto the beach.” He likes the style of Manézs and Malackrumpli, but he thinks Balatonfüred is overcrowded.
The selection is not finalized, but it already features top-notch drinks produced in the region: Hausbrandt coffees, homemade syrups and lemonades, draft and bottled beers (not locally made, but you can at least get Estrella and Bernard), pálinkas from the village of Panyola as well as wines from Söptei, Skrabski, and Piffáth. You could say that Kikötő is kid friendly, as they’ll soon have a sandbox, and there’s a chalkboard on the wall of a neighboring house for the little ones to draw on.
If all goes according to plan, bistro dishes such as sandwiches, baguettes, paninis, salads, and seasonal dishes will be added to the menu next year, and there’s going to be a breakfast menu with high-quality baked goods. In the long run, a farmers’ and flea market is also among the plans. It currently looks like they’ll be open every day until October (Monday-Thursday, Sunday 8am-12am; Friday-Saturday 8am-2am the next day), and on weekends after that. Until then everyone is welcome from vacationers, travelers, bikers, and drivers to horse riders, who can “park” their companions at a designated spot.