…for a good pasta with soft cheese – sang the pre-WWII hit. And deservedly so. Because the baroque suburb of Óbuda in the northernmost outskirt of Budapest, built on the foundations of Roman Aquincum, was the paradise of little bohemian restaurants, a popular haunt of artists and of all kind of well-situated townsfolk in search of good kitchen and entertainment, a little Montmartre and Trastevere in one. This magic world lives on forever in the several novels of Gyula Krúdy (1878-1933), “the Hungarian Proust” (The New York Times), “a marvelous writer who haunted the taverns of Budapest and lived on its streets while turning out a series of mesmerizing, revelatory novels that are among the masterpieces of modern literature” (New York Review of Books). And only there. Because the town itself was swept away together with its thousand small restaurants by the forced building of ten-storey Socialist housing estates in the 1960s. The romantic capital city of Hungarian gastronomy lives on as an Atlantis in the memory of the inhabitants of the city.
One of the thousand – Another Friedmann photo