I’m very behind on my posts. There are many valid reasons for this! Our to-die-for summer holiday in Malta and Sicily (oh the food, the wine, the sea and sun), a visit from my sister and my consequent trip to Amsterdam, a brand-spanking new job and now this glorious summer weather. I went for a walk on Clapham Common yesterday and was astounded by the sight of sunbathers on a bed of autumn leaves.
So I’ve dragged myself out of bed on a Sunday morning to try and make a dent in the pile of posts that need updating. My head is heavy with after effects of pear cider and champers and I am staring longingly outside. Robbins are playing in the holly tree and yet another blue sky adorns London.
So here goes!
2 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 4ND
020 7437 0973
Date visited: 27 July 2011
Gay Hussar, established in 1953, is as much an established cultural symbol to Greek Street as the rainbow coloured flags are to Soho. For almost 60 years, this Hungarian restaurant in London has been counted as a firm favourite where other restaurants have come and gone, adjusting to trends and the fickle tastes of London’s appetite.
We stepped into a long narrow room, library-like with shelves of books aligning the walls. The long tables that ran along the walls were already packed at this early dining hour. I suppose Soho is easily accessible for the media-types. We were ushered upstairs, past walls dotted with portraits and caricatures of the famous and infamous who have dined there in the past.
Cumbrian-born Victor Sassie established Gay Hussar with the intention that guests should drink well, eat well and live well. The menu reflects the indulgent nature of the original proprietor and that tradition has been carried into current times.
Read all about the delightful history of Victor Sassie, Gay Hussar and how London’s Hungarian restaurant was established here.
I started with a chilled wild cherry soup. It was gorgeous and rich but it at odds with my obsessive compulsive nature which dictates that sweet dishes should come at the end of the meal. Clinton had the debreceni kolbász, or smoked Hungarian sausage, whose spicy aroma wafted over to the patron at the table next to us. She lent over and exclaimed in loud, plummy tones “Is that the Hungarian sausage? I’m definitely ordering that!”, before returning to her date.
For mains we ordered the chicken roulade served with asparagus and French long beans and vegetáriánus pörkölt, vegetarian goulash served with porcini and galuska, which I believed was a must. We topped off our dinner with poppy seed strudel and summer berry pudding.
Verdict: Gay Hussar is as much a must for the delicious food and the taste of Hungarian cuisine in London, as it is for it’s long and colourful history. While sampling your meal, take some time to ponder your surroundings and imagine the ghosts of patrons-past flitting the rooms. TS Eliot is scribbling feverishly while his goulash goes cold. Princess Alexandra holds court, surrounded by her admirers. The Bevanites are plotting and debating and munching on their töltött káposzta. Victor Sassie beams proudly from a corner before dashing to take an order or to spread the latest scandalous rumour.
PS I ditched the posts for cider in the sun in the end. I’m still far behind in these updates, but it was worth it!