We spent much of last summer being excited about the new trends of the Balaton catering scene, which have introduced viable alternatives to the reheated hake and greasy lángos served at more lakeside food stands than we care to count. We went for a springtime stroll around the town of Veszprém, and found that our new wave sensor was right: we met the former headwaiter of Villa Medici, who served us a fantastic burger, and we also came across the café of a champion barista.
Our Budapest themed sister site could probably write an entire monograph on new-wave cafés, and it is hardly surprising that Tizen1 Café – launched last November – follows in the footsteps of its Budapest counterparts both in terms design and selection. The café serves breakfast foods like ham & eggs, zucchini omelet (850 HUF), or muesli with yoghurt and jam (490 HUF). We arrived after having a hearty morning meal, so we only dropped by for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (200 HUF/dl) and a cup of delicious coffee (400-600 HUF).
Owner-manager Márk Koncz had already won the national championship of baristas in two consecutive years when the specialty coffee craze was only beginning. He used to work as a barista at Gresham Palace, and he started to get more intimately acquainted with caffeine in 2004. Ever since then he’d wanted to return to his hometown and open a cozy and stylish café, and last year he finally got the chance to make his dream come true. In the summer, he wants to make the most of the terrace and realize the full potential of the kitchen, offering a variety of bistro dishes instead of the currently available paninis.
Tizen1 is not hard to find once you’ve spotted a particular flight of stairs that’s located a few meters from the parking lot of Oliva Hotel & Restaurant. It kind of looks like it’ll take you into a regular residential building, and we were almost fooled as well: if we hadn't gone all the way to the top, we would have missed out on the excellent coffee served here.
Sited in the charming valley of the brook Séd, Fricska was already on our radar soon after the opening: we thought it was such a genius idea to take a traditional farmer’s cottage at the foot of Veszprém Castle, and turn it into a cool, current wine bar instead of a run-of-a-mill csárda. Back in 2013 the eatery was still lacking a proper menu, but that has all changed, so we decided to return to check out the updated selection. First we went for the “beef belly” (1,790 HUF), which is a hearty sandwich with steamed beef, mayonnaise with horseradish, barbecue sauce, rucola, and pickles.
We could already tell after trying the first dish that the cuisine at Fricska had some really gorgeous flavors, and we were even more convinced by the eponymous Fricska burger (1,950 HUF). The bun – which comes from a local bakery – was filled with a savory patty seasoned with Fricska’s very own spice mix, barbecue sauce, fried onion rings, and vegetables. And to top is all, the always delicate balance of juice and sauce was simply spot on.
Both dishes came with homemade potato chips, which didn’t really add much to the overall effect, but they were great for nibbling on between bites. At this point we got the chance to chat a little bit with the manager, who used to be headwaiter at Villa Medici Restaurant.
He told us that Fricska adopted the current grill and street food theme when the menu was updated last November. There’s a new dessert dish every week: we rounded off our visit with the eatery’s latest sweet creation, a carrot biscuit sandwich filled with fluffy mascarpone cream and the kind of thick, gooey jam that most of us know well from the family pantry.
In summer the assortment is going to include barbecued food prepared over an open fire, and they are planning on enlarging the terrace to accommodate the growing number of hungry guests. They’ll also set up tables and chairs on the bank of the Séd outside the bar, and we were told that one of the tables might actually end up in the water, which is certainly something we’ve never seen before.