Four Seasons Hotel, Széchenyi István tér 5-6, Budapest, 1051, Hungary

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Kollazs (“Collage”) is a restaurant on the ground floor of the luxurious Four Seasons hotel, located yards from the well-known Chain Bridge over the Danube. The restaurant is fairly casual in style, with no tablecloths, wood floors and an international menu. The bar at one end has some attractive art nouveau features, in keeping with the architectural style of this building, which was originally built in 1904 as a British insurance company headquarters. It is large room, capable of seating 137 diners at capacity, with more room for tables on the terrace outside in good weather. This restaurant was new, so new that it only opened the day before I visited. Chef Árpád Győrffy was previously chef at Arany Kaviár and sous-chef at Alabárdos in Budapest.

The wine list had a pleasingly broad selection of labels from Hungary, as well as a broad selection from around the world. Example bottles were Sauska Furmint 2012 at 13,000 Ft for a bottle that can be found in a shop for 4,362 Ft, the lovely Torres Mas la Plana 2009 was 34,000 Ft for a wine that retails at 16,359 Ft, and Chateau Palmer Alter Ego 2010 at 68,000 Ft compared to a shop price of 23,992 Ft.

A nibble of salmon ceviche appeared before our starters, a simple but refreshing dish having a pleasant level of acidity from the lime (12/20). A tuna Nicoise (3,800 Ft) was a rendition of the classic salad, with seared tuna, capers, quail eggs, olives, French beans, slices of boiled potatoes, red onion and cherry tomatoes along with gem lettuce. This was harmless enough, but for me there was insufficient dressing, and what there was needed a little more vinegar sharpness. In the Mediterranean the freshness of the local ingredients lift this salad to a higher level, but here the components were merely reasonable (11/20).   

A feature of the dining room is a rotating spit, so I was interested to try something cooked on this. A baby chicken (3,500 Ft) roasted in this way was properly cooked, avoiding dryness, though the flavour of the bird was rather limited. The contrast between this and the spit-roast Landes chicken at Fermes au Grives just days before was striking (12/20). French fries with this were fine.

A chocolate dessert (1,800 Ft) comprised a dark chocolate mousse with sour cherry and vanilla and walnut ice cream with a tuile garnish. The mousse was fine, though the ice cream was served so cold that its flavour was rather lost (11/20).     

Service was very good, the staff friendly and efficient. I did not see the bill, but three courses would come to around £20 so if you shared a modest bottle of wine a typical cost per head might be £40. Not a bargain by Budapest standards, but then you are within the grandest hotel in the city. This restaurant is not pushing any culinary boundaries but that is of course not the idea; it is a hotel restaurant catering to an international clientele.

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