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Gastro

“Balaton is about a feeling which you can find anywhere” – but definitely at Paletta

We had heard of Dániel Bezerics before, of his forward-thinking, sustainable attitude, of his adoration for Balaton and gastronomy, and in general: of the Bezerics phenomenon. We visited Paletta Bistrobar and Vinoteca, the South Balaton residence of the Bezerics gastro empire to try his famous hamburger.

Upon arrival at Paletta, now an integral part of the Balatonboglár marina, we immediately spotted that the likes of this place are in short supply, or at least very rare at Balaton. On the northern shore Kredenc Wine Bistro is another fine example of a great bistro, but such delicacies (pun intended) are much harder to find on the southern side.

Looking at it from the outside, the building looks like any cool, urban bistro: the symbiosis of huge, shady planetrees, colourful paper lanterns, pallets and herbs, a modern and tasteful design with an abundance of natural materials.

Stepping inside, you’ll not only feel the trendy urban vibes, but the Balaton spirit as well: from behind the colourful sail-like dividers you have a splendid view of the Balatonboglár marina, and you can even hear the clinkering of the ships moored outside. The setting: lush flower beds, blue-and-white sailing boats, wooden planks and the water of Balaton, of course, which is an angry green colour one minute, and a calm blue the next. This is what you get served at Paletta, together with the pastrami hamburger, which is made from ingredients supplied by Hungarian, if possible local, small producers.

No sooner had we picked a spot to sit at the pallet tables and sofas than Dániel Bezerics appeared out of nowhere: coffee, tea, fröccs? He made us swear that we wouldn’t leave before we tried his hamburger. It is closer to breakfast time, but if we pop over to an ice cream parlour first, we will definitely be able to chow down a burger. A perfect plan indeed, and we didn’t drink our coffee and tea solo either: we also got a slice of freshly made cake each.

The pastry cook “is a gastro blogger chick, she’s really cool, she bakes the cakes. There is no secret really: the eggs are eggs, the cream is cream and it comes from cows, not from grains – that’s all,” says Dániel as he lays a reinvented krémes with fresh raspberry bits in front of us on the table. The pastry is definitely fresh, the cream melts in our mouths, and the fresh raspberry, which seems like a simple enough ingredient, adds an extra twist to the otherwise clean full effect.

Don’t look for this sweet treat on the permanent menu, though. It is possible that you won’t have a chance to try it until next year’s raspberry season. “Our concept is to have a versatile selection of fresh cakes available every day. We don’t want any more than two or three kinds, but we want to sell those all, so that we can make something new the next day.”

Dániel doesn’t want the place to be a commercial cake shop with a dozen different kinds of cakes, he’d rather have memorable creations in the current selection. They spent a month experimenting with the Welschriesling cake, for example: it was quite the challenge to find the kind of apple that provides the right flavour.

Cakes are not the only way to kick off breakfast – but they are an option we wouldn’t miss for the world -, you can also try some of the fresh, homemade yoghurt. Unfortunately, the yoghurt is not produced locally, it comes from the Őrség region, as the management has not found the right supplier around Balaton yet. The same goes for the other ingredients from vegetables to meat.

Dániel, and other catering establishment owners like him, would happily pay a bit more for local, top-quality ingredients, but many local producers are still a little sceptical about such promises.

After our quick detour to an ice cream parlour – which we will definitely write about later – we returned to the cushions of the comfy pallet sofa. Sweet flavours must be followed by savoury ones, so we jumped at the opportunity to try the Bezerics burger, which is the flagship product of the short but all the more promising food selection.

The hamburger was great, we couldn’t really find fault with it: the meat was tasty and juicy enough with a slightly detectable smoked mangalica flavour. The vegetables were fresh and the usual combo of tomato and cucumber was  enhanced by some lamb’s lettuce, among others. We washed the burger down with some strawberry-basil lemonadethe basil that was placed on top of the aesthetically pleasing and delicious drinks came from the herb box on the terrace.

The buns will soon be tweaked with some black caraway, which adds something extra to the already harmonious picture. They are also experimenting with the ingredients of the patty all the time. We thought it was great the way it was, but at least we’ll have a reason to return for another burger.

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