Anyukam Mondta

Petőfi Sándor u. 57, Encs, 3860, Hungary

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This unassuming restaurant is in the sleepy village of Encs in the Tokaji wine region in northeast Hungary, a few miles down the road from the wine town of Mad. It is set back from the main road in a group of shops, and has a distinctly unpromising, ramshackle entrance. Once inside the dining room is very pleasant, and there is a little garden at the back where you can sit out and have a drink. The restaurant was set up by the Dudás brothers in 2008 after they worked in Italy, with Szabolcs Dudás as head chef and his sibling running the front of house. The restaurant name means "my mother told me". Produce is imported from Italy weekly and there is a proper wood-fired pizza oven, though the menu goes well beyond just pizza.

As we looked at the menu a plate of high quality Italian ham and cheese appeared, along with some excellent pizza bread cooked in the oven. There is a list of around fifty Hungarian wines, with bottles such as Zoltan Demeter Dry Furmint 2012 at 7900 Ft for a label that costs more than that in a shop, Szepsy Urban Furmint at 11,500 Ft for a bottle that costs the equivalent of 20,400 Ft if you buy it in London, and the glorious Szepsy 2007 Aszu 6 Puttonyos for 25,000 Ft compared to an equivalent of 52,069 Ft in a London shop but 24,900 in a Budapest shop that I wandered into. Wine mark-ups here in the countryside seem to have yet to catch on at all.

The pizza that I sampled had very good base texture indeed (14/20), but the best part was the striking quality of the tomatoes used. These had some of the best flavour I can recall, coming from a Puglia producer called Paolo Petrilli, who runs a farm in Foggia. This supplier has a fine reputation and his tomatoes command a high price, so to see them used on a pizza in rural Hungary was, to put it mildly, a surprise to me. 

A speciality of the restaurant is fried chicken, which may not sound very interesting but uses an excellent local chicken with plenty of flavour, and an excellent batter whose composition is a secret the kitchen was unwilling to share. The result was delicious, served with good mash (14/20).

I tried a couple of desserts. Cheesecake was merely pleasant (12/20) but strawberry pavlova had genuinely lovely local strawberries that actually tasted of strawberry, a forgotten occurrence in the UK (14/20). Even the coffee was excellent.

Service was relaxed and friendly, and the bill for this thoroughly enjoyable three-course meal with soft drinks and coffee came to £13 a head. This was a really charming restaurant serving simple, enjoyable food in a relaxed setting using top-notch ingredients. What more can you really ask from a restaurant? If you visit the lovely Tokaji wine region then be sure to pay it a visit.

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  • Valerie Adams

    My family and I have visited this restaurant on many occasions when we have visited Hungary. The food is excellent and never disappoints, it's always cooked fresh and presented beautifully. The fillet steak is to die for! It's well worth a visit and we'll be visiting again soon.