I like to play a game when I come to Bookta, a former bookstore turned into café and perched on a slope on the Buda side of Margaret Bridge. A bookcase covers an entire wall of the coffeehouse, heavy with old books in Hungarian. I pick one, read a line and start writing. Even if I didn’t understand the sentence, this ritual gets me cracking.
Bookta’s specialty are its daily menus inspired by acclaimed locals writers. For example, a fancy Martini as an homage of “Mihály Babits”‘ passion for Italy, or a breakfast à la “Endre Ady”, the narcissistic genius of poetry, who loved Paris and would probably go for Bookta’s croissant breakfast.
How weird of an animal a writer is, with all his/her consolidated habits. Most masterpieces are the product of obsessions and strict principles. Dalì wrote limpid lines about his hate for spinach, while Balzac’s 50 cups a day are the proof I can have as many espressos as I like.
Bookta valued this aspect, with a pinch of imagination.
At night, I favour “Geza Csáth”, the handsome and damned: between women, opium, alchohol and literature, he died at 32. Bookta remembers him with a Bloody Mary.
My favourite, Kosztolányi, is represented with a romantic cocktail in honor of his character “Anna Édes” (The Sweet Anna), but one of his poems glorifies his morning coffee and that’s what I normally order. And what I get with it is also a vital source of inspiration.