The executive chef of Neked Főztem, Csongor Horváth has opened Szálka Bistro, the first fish restaurant on the north shore. The menu includes a wide variety of freshwater and sea fish, from fried carp and rainbow trout to catfish stew and hake.
The Szálka Bistro is located in the centre of Aszófő, by Road 71, near Tihany. Locals had been looking forward to having a fish restaurant on their doorstep but various alterations delayed the opening until the late spring of 2019.
The bistro has a spacious terrace, while its interior has a calming, grey tone with the green and blue hues of the nearby lake. The walls are adorned with black-and-white images from the Fortepan archive, with scenes of Balaton summers past. Four shelves are fully packed with wine bottles.
Listed on the menu are three appetisers, two soups, ten main courses and two desserts. 80% of the selection is fish-based, but there are chicken, beef and goats’ cheese dishes, too. Freshwater fish are sourced from Balatonboglár, Keszthely and Tapolca as, according to executive chef Csongor Horváth, some Balaton producers can provide fresh fish of the quality you can build a restaurant on. The menu, put together by Horváth and chef Gergő Csiszer, is always changing, based on what’s available.
Hake – but not as you know it
The fish crackling is served with a marinated beetroot salad and homemade crescent rolls, baked on-site (1,290 HUF). The pasta that accompanies the catfish stew (3,490 HUF) is also homemade. At the moment, this is the most popular dish at Szálka.
More traditional dishes include the fried carp fillet with lemon pumpkin pottage (2,790 HUF) or the fish soup with catfish offal and traditional matchstick pasta (1,890 HUF). There are also lighter fish dishes served with salad, such as the rainbow trout fillet with asparagus and green-pea salad, with stuffed vegetables (3,490 HUF).
Szálka’s selection also includes fish that aren’t from around Lake Balaton, such as hake, sourced from Budaörs Fish Market and fried in a herb breadcrumb coating. According to Horváth, hake is best fried when fresh before going straight onto the plate – quality is key. The menu will be expanded to feature bream, bighead carp, pike and eel – for now, though, these are mostly available as weekend offers.
The wine list has items that go well with fish – Szálka is also a wine shop, the only one of its kind in the area.
Reaching Szálka is easy by bike as the cycle route to Pécsely passes close by, while the main road is also nearby. In all honesty, these dishes would worth the trek even if Szálka were tucked away in some distant corner of Balaton.