Experience brings out the flavours at Mango Beach, once a lakeside buffet, now a restaurant with culinary surprises in store.
Mango Beach is a place focused on pizza: that much is clear from their menu. The restaurant underwent an overhaul in the past couple of months, during which it was expanded with a new floor where there are now two apartments. The former vibrant orange walls are now coated in white and grey mixed with wooden surfaces. With lake views, a beach feel is a given. What makes this beach buffet outstanding is the fact that a serious chef is manning the kitchen.
Most pizzas are priced between 1,390 and 2,290 forints. Despite being called mango pizza (2,250 HUF), the house speciality features no mango. The potato soup (1,190 HUF) is a creamy concoction with many spices, served with sweet potato crisps and wonton. It is currently featured on the ever-changing menu, and is not always available.
The duck liver appetiser (2,890 HUF), served with toast, is divine and could easily pass as a main course. The side dishes are also outstanding: the pickled vegetables mix with the sweet jam and strawberries, taking guests a step closer to the umami taste experience sought by chef Péter Mátyás. He started working here at 17 when the place opened and stayed for three years before seeking new experiences. He is constantly seeking something new, which is why the temporary menu at Mango changes every two weeks. He also tries to shake the main menu up every now and then.
Mátyás is now making his return to Balaton. He isn’t a new wave chef but does like Thai elements, apparent in the potato soup made with chilli and lime. Their popular dessert mákos guba (poppy-seed bread pudding), served with fruit and meringue, arrives with two forks because there’s always someone else who wants to try it. Most of the desserts come from Segreto in Gyenesdiás but the mousse pots are made here.
Owner Richárd Gombkötő has been working in the hospitality industry since he was a teenager. Mango was among the firsts to conquer the new wave and fusion cuisine even though it started out as a beach buffet. Mango has its own set of regulars, about 80% of the guests. What makes attracting new custom a little harder is the fact that there’s an admission fee of 800 forints to the beach.
This year, they have created a guest-friendly menu which makes it possible to serve meals faster. It changes every two weeks, except for the permanent dishes of beef soup (850 HUF), Portobello pasta (2,650 HUF), Caesar salad (1,950 HUF), the duck liver appetiser and the fried cutlet. There’s also a different menu for weekends, with more traditional, quick dishes and one for weekdays with more time-consuming, gourmet items. Their pizza recipe is from Italy and their pizzas represent stability with Mango’s regulars in mind, as opposed to the continuously changing bistro menu.
Obtaining the right ingredients used to be a problem but now they can order everything from Budapest. According to the owner, he came up with the name Mango Beach when on holiday in Thailand.