Ildikó Harmathy, founder of Liliomkert Market, has recently reopened one of the cosiest coffeehouses in the Balaton Uplands. Kávéház a Vörös Lóhoz is a café, a restaurant, a delicatessen and a community space in one.
Its name means 'Coffee House at the Red Horse', which refers to the animal painted on the wall of a whitewashed house on a square in Tapolca-Diszel, right behind the pub. But really, it’s more of a hedonist red centaur with a bow tie and a lady in a blue swimsuit on his back, both drinking champagne. Contrasting this wild logo, the interior is pleasant and laid-back, with dark furniture and vintage decor.
The terrace, which connects to Látványtár, is just dreamy. The café is located in one of the buildings of the former Stankovics Mill, while the Első Magyar Látványtár is located in the other. The coffeehouse originally opened in 2000 but was only in business for two years.
The mill that almost wasn’t
The area used to be rich in mills. Eger Creek in Diszel was one of the biggest streams – today it flows below the café’s lovely terrace. The building that now houses the café used to produce oil but later it was turned into a luxurious home by miller György Stankovics.
Later Eger Creek dried up as a result of bauxite mining and the mill started to decay. Its roof was blown off, the upper floors sank. Ákos Vörösváry and, later, the foundation that manages Látványtár, bought the buildings, renovated them and established today's exhibition space and coffeehouse.
The pantry of Káli Basin
Ildikó Harmathy rented the coffeehouse and opened it in July. Kávéház a Vörös Lóhoz is kind of extension to the market where local products are available and used in the kitchen all through the year. This is a huge help to suppliers as well, especially since Ildikó has organised a cooperative called Liliomkert Éléskamra that connects the producers with consumers and restaurants outside the market, too.
Vinegar spritzers and főzelék
The café’s kitchen works with the ingredients and products of the market’s vendors whenever possible. The cordials (150 HUF/dl) are made here with dried mint and elderflower, while the vinegar spritzers (150 HUF/dl) are made with Susanne Daucher’s vinegars from Pécsely and with the verjuice of the Killer Cellar in Szent György-hegy.
Most of the alcoholic beverages are also sourced from the area: Skizo wines from Badacsonytördemic, Stari beers from Tapolca and brandies from Petendi Pálinkaház. The menu starts with spreads and dips (800 HUF), then features broths, mushroom soup and the raspberry cream soup with sage and yoghurt mousse (800-1,200 HUF). The side dishes include stew-like főzelék, polenta and salads with various toppings. The meats all come from local producers as well. For now, they have veal, pork and duck breast.
The staff have been recruited from the market, so instead of chefs, they have cooks. The pantry, for now just a cabinet, houses the artisanal products that are available for purchase. The shelves are lined the pumpkin-seed cream of Márta Kéri, the pressed oils of Klaudia Ott and the sweet and spicy cookies of Zsuzsa Sárkány. Various spreads are also available, along with flour and vegetable snacks.
Open during the day
The manager mostly wants to attract the locals and hopes to create a community: she’s already planning dinners for the winter, themed events, and fairs. Ildikó Harmathy’s incredible energy is apparent – according to her, if you have enough inner motivation, energy comes with it.