Picking a Chefs brain is always fun.
Here is what we asked Chef Krisztián Huszár of Zona Restaurant Budapest
When we sat down with Chef Kristztian, we asked him about the latest trend and uprising of gourmet restaurants in Europe, becoming less gourmet-snobby
Here is what he had to say…. if you love this post, click here for a great recipe from the Chef himself!
|Image: Zona Restaurant|
How would you describe the new ‘casual but gourmet’ restaurants in
In the past 56 years, in Central and Eastern Europe the fight of ‘fine dining’ and
‘bistro’ had a huge impact on the area’s gastronomy. Due to its more understandable
concept, bistros gained victory and earned guests’ trust and hearts. For the people in
countries like Hungary, the world of fine dining restaurants, the complex food
creations, the highly extravagant serving methods can be too much out the box,
hence it can ruin the courses’ attractiveness. This is one of the main reasons Zona
restaurant can be a successful and be ranked 17 points by Gault & MIllau’s
international guide. Although we use the highest quality ingredients and figuring out
extraordinary food concepts, we still remain casual. Zona creates the balance
between culinary peaks and common sense.
2. What have you done to make your restaurant more appealing, casual but
The extravagant dual interior design at ZONA is highly appealing. The design
elements are unique, modern and innovative, the elegancy of the black and metal bar
area, the bright, green walls, the wooden furniture and copper decoration are in
perfect harmony, despite the fact that they were created as visible opposites of each
Although, ZONA is a stylish, elegant restaurant, our guests never feel embarrased,
thanks to our friendly and vivacious staff and high quality service. Right
communication with our guests is of great importance for us. Ultimately, we create
day and night music mixes exclusively for ZONA, which also play significant role in
3. How does the design of your restaurant change the environment and
feeling your guests experience while eating at your restaurant?
As stated above, the interior design provides a unique experience for our guests.
The colors and texture vary from bright to dark, from metal to wood. Eating in ZONA is
really not just a culinary, but also an ‘artistic’ trip. Furthermore, the fact that we serve
cleaned tap water makes our environmentally conscious guests satisfied, too.
4. How has the menu changed from a gourmet – higher end restaurant to a
little more casual?
At ZONA, we create special dishes by mixing Hungarian, Basque and Asian flavours.
The menu is changed twice a day, and we offer variations for more occasions:
business lunch, dinner, and casual Saturday lunch. As for ZONA’s food conception,
our Chef, Krisztian Huszar aims to produce well-known dishes with a twist. A perfect example for that is our Lecso (image above!), which is a traditional Hungarian food, designed in a different way.
5. Have you noticed a change in your guests’ attitude for food? The way
Most of our frequenters come for lunch almost every day, they consider ZONA their
second home. Business lunch is also very popular. However, there are still some
skeptical visitors, we are positive that we’ll have everybody on our side soon. The
most special type of our guests are those laid back people, who come just to have fun
or hang out in the restaurant. We do love them though, they add a unique feeling to
6. Is there a new crowd of diners – for example guests are more happy to
have high quality food but not wear a suit and tie?
Yes. Our purpose is to remain a casual restaurant, where people can have quality
food, and enjoy themselves at the same time. However, we think that dinner should
have a completely different function or feeling, if you like, so we are planning on
including more festive elements in our casual evening.
7. How does this affect your price?
The price to value ratio is much better in ZONA than it is by our competitors in
Budapest. That means that we create our dishes from extremely high quality
ingredients, moreover our Chef oversees the suppliers, and have good personal
relationship with them, and what’s more, he personally goes to the market and
selects the most beautiful goods.