Stepping back into time equipped with a tech-savvy smartphone has it’s privileges. For right outside the grandiose of the Opera House is Muvész Kavehaz in my favorite European city oozing with charm, Budapest.
Built in 1884 by a Neo-Renaissance residence, designed by Rezső Ray, formerly a staple of elderly dowagers, huffing artists and weed laced creatives, it was a present day Brooklyn outcast with a bohemian enjoying the period themed interiors. What with swooping chandeliers reflecting on mustard print walls decked with metallic vintage clandestine wall art, the golden glow was offset by the luminescent red lamps on each wooden tabletop. It was literally an old fashioned ambiance, sans any grandeur like previous outposts in Naples or New York, but instead owing it’s radiance to the ballooning affluent working class of the city.
The key was to select a drink from the menu, but a tea-time cake from the glass case. It’s white lighting, while apt to ogle the height-y cakes, was a tad miscast in the otherwise sepia themed cafe, but was only a momentary hiccup that actually sped up the process of lurking between layers of chocolate.
I started with a mochachino, simply owing to the fatigue of having voyaged the city and it’s draining nightlife and luscious baths. It was a hot coffee specialty, coated with latte macchiato, chocolate syrup and chocolate! While not too distant from the classic, one could taste the high quality of the chocolate with it’s velvety texture. Owing to my penchant of multiple desserts, I gobbled two cakes promptly thereafter.
The sacher was the original chocolate cake, famous in Vienna, invented in 1832 by Franz Scher. While impeccably layered with a seal atop the well tempered chocolate glaze, it constituted of chocolate mousse and marzipan sponge cake, with a sweet brittleness contrasting magically with the dark tenderness of the chocolate. When gobbled in one bite, it was ethereally soft and potently flavorful.
The second was the gerbeaud sleeve, a skinny but mighty taste-packed cake which literally glinted gold with caramel. The creator Gerbeaud Emil had managed to add a crackle of textures below a layer of caramel ganache, namely praline, chocolate, hazelnut and caramel slivers. The sweetness was literally solid, and gave a crackle at every bite!
The aroma in the air was densely saturated with dreamy chocolate, and I sauntered in and out, full of expectations for an intriguing city.