European Capital of Culture 2023, Veszprém is a year-round destination, operating independently of Lake Balaton nearby. While some places by the shore close after summer, the largest city within easy reach is a-buzz all winter. We visited three new places all worth investigating around town for sourdough bread, pad thai dishes and drinks in a funky spot set up in a mill dating back to 1473.
Veszprém is no stranger to recent invention, as attested by this year’s opening of the wonderful Papírkutya. We paid another visit to the City of Queens to check out three more places also worth recommending.
On Megyeház tér right in the city centre, a strange place began to take shape in the spring, giving off quite wonderful aromas: the Makmoiselle bakery. Here, most of the baked good are created from sourdough. Founders Gabriella Hegyesi and Gergely Orbán are a mother-and-son team. she is the head baker and inventor, he oversees staff and marketing.
It wasn’t always like this. “How much did we have to do with hospitality or bakeries? Nothing!” Gergely honestly admits. In 2018, at the local Soul of Bread Festival on the national holiday of 20 August, Gabriella won in the amateur baguette category, providing an initial impetus for this current project.
Gergely, meanwhile, was
very fond of sourdough bread when he lived in Budapest, but had to scour town
to find it. A year later, mother and son invested in an oven and began to
experiment. Lavish bread was the result.
From there, it was only a short step to set up a bakery. Veszprém was chosen because they often visited, and the city did not then have a sourdough bakery.
The space they found used to be a restaurant but had stood empty for years. It still smelled of scrambled eggs when they looked at it, but they saw its potential, rented it and redesigned it.
Eventually, they opened last spring. It has been a hit ever since, a queue of customers snaking out the building, the bakers hardly able to cope with demand.
A loyal customer base soon
formed – according to Gergely, “This is a city that shows its gratitude if
you do something it likes. The locals want to make sure you stay”.
Regulars are also used to the fact that, unlike other bakeries, they do not open extremely early and are family-friendly with it. Bakers have to cope with a reasonably modest 5.30am start and the shop opens at 8.30am.
What is rough is that Gabriella commutes from Tárnok and Gergely from Zugló. As for the team, women have been brought to the fore with three female bakers and three ladies at the counter, with one guy baker in the kitchen. You can also watch from the street as the delicacies are being made.
The base they use is Pászto
organic flour made north-east of Budapest – they couldn’t find fine-quality, organic
flour any closer. They also get raw grain from Győr, which they grind
themselves. They bake seven types of bread every day, each with their own
At first they just wanted to bake bread, but very soon the locals also had an appetite for pastries. They don’t spare on quality there, either, with 84% French butter in the puff pastry, Belgian chocolate in the cocoa swirls and the cottage cheese comes from organic producers Élő Bolygó.
Their cocoa swirls, the iconic kakaós csiga revered by Hungarian children, sells like… well, hot cakes. People recognise the higher quality, all the same.
They regularly come up
with novelties, such as tartes, small
filled pockets of puff pastry, with Gruyère cheese, tomatoes and French mustard
in one, fried ham and egg in another, Gorgonzola-and-pear in the third.
Don’t miss the specialty coffee, either, a medium-light roasted Brazilian from OneEleven in Sopron.
8200 Veszprém, Megyeház tér 2
Open: Tue-Fri 8.30am-5.30pm, Sat 8.30am-2pm
2.Kedvencem Wok & Bar
Veszprém’s first pad-thai-style, Far-Eastern eatery stands on its de facto main square, Óváros tér. The new kind of culinary experience was soon welcomed by the city, mayor Gyula Porga tucking into a lunchtime bowl on the spacious terrace.
Manager Attila Sindler has been a big fan of pad thai for some time, but had to trek to Győr or Budapest to find it. With a gap in the market, he realised that the public needed a little coaxing first, to show what it was all about. Few locals were savvy when it came to choosing what they wanted.
Sauce for the gander
“There were those who asked for it without any sauce – I advised then against it as the sauce was the topping,” remembers Attila from the early days.
In fact, there was a lot of experimentation with the sauces. If only three out of 50 liked a particular one, it was taken off the menu. This has also been redesigned, explaining in detail how to choose as well as the flavours of each ingredient.
Two of their chefs came from Budapest, and certain sauces have been sourced from the capital – although the teriyaki and green-curry ones are made here.
Soups feature heavily on the menu, pho, tom yum, and they also have daily desserts such as tapioca pudding and matcha-tea cheesecake.
The building, which once housed
a brewery, has been completely renovated. Plans are afoot to add more features,
particularly to the spacious terrace, with its pretty view of the reddish
rooftops. They plan to cover a good portion of it next summer, as well as create
a bar counter outside.
The drinks selection is impressive, with quality Balaton wines, as well as the recommended house favourites from the Geszler Winery in Mór.
Kedvencem Wok & Bar
8200 Veszprém, Óváros tér 26
Open: Mon-Thur, Sun 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
3.Felönt a Garatra
The area around Fricska is already one of the most homely and rustic parts of Veszprém, where trees, bushes, rocky hillsides and a rippling stream provide the background for dining. There used to be 15 mills here in Séd Valley, one next to Fricska, whose owners dreamed of using it for something different: a ruin bar.
Of course, like everything in 2020, plans had to be adapted. According to manager András Tóth, the Frick mill, built in 1473, was first intended to be transformed into a boutique hotel – the current bar would have been the lobby and communal space, but in the absence of outside investment, the plan remains in place but on ice.
The building was named after the last miller, Mihály Frick, whose great-granddaughter Beatrix Frick, still lives in Veszprém. She was happy for a portrait of her ancestor to be photographed and put on display here.
The ditch around Séd mill has long been filled, the stream trickling away nearby – inside, you can still see from a recess where the large mill wheel which once rotated generations ago. Now there are tables and chairs here, too, a zigzag of found artefacts such as the door of an East-German Trabant.
The original mill area can still be visited and is suitable for hosting events. This is where the name, Garat, gullet, comes from, as in Down the Hatch, Felönt a Garatra.
As András explains, the wheat was poured here for the grain to be ground. So what kind of drinks can we pour down our gullets? The short drinks are visibly high-quality, moving away from well-worn standards, such as 1 Csepp Pálinka from Hegykő. Beers from Pécs are on tap, with small-batch brews such as Stari, Hedon and Hübris sold by the bottle.
In the realm of wines, András highliights Skrabski, Szabó & Son, Skizó, Sabar and the Barcza Winery in Somló, among others, from Balaton, but they also stock labels from Mád and Pannonhalma, as well as Kreinbacher and Piper champagnes.
The cuisine is Balkan, including meaty ćevapi from Fricska, supplemented by pljeskavica and shish kebabs, as well as vegan options, all underscored by oven-baked flatbread. They offer a giant grill platter for 5,810 forints, the amount that Mihály Frick bought the mill for in 1870, allowing for inflation. Oh, and no hamburgers.
Other businesses such as Budapest’s French-style à table! bakery also showcase their wares. Events and tastings are planned for when the time comes.
Felönt a Garatra
8200 Veszprém, Miklós utca 8
Open: Wed-Sun 4pm-11pm