Many Budapest restaurants offer lunch menus, but few live up to the standards of Lumen: Monday to Friday they offer a combo of one soup (always vegetarian) and two main courses, one meat-based and one vegetarian. Much loved local staples such as pottages or paprikash are combined liberally with elements borrowed from exotic cuisines, say a dash of curry or my personal favourite Italian ribollita. The ‘main menu’ changes seasonally, focusing on readily available fresh ingredients, and there are also several breakfast choices.
Outside the busy lunch hours students, office escapees such as myself and creatives (some working in ateliers hosted by Lumen’s building) lounge around sipping lemonades and Lumen’s own brand of coffee, roasted on the spot in the space behind the counter. Come evening, the beverage of choice becomes a craft beer or a wine, perhaps a spritzer in summer- as with everything here, special attention is paid to the origin and quality of produce, with emphasis on sourcing from local microbusinesses.
The music is carefully curated (by now I’ve grown quite familiar with the preferences of different members of staff), and there is a small concert hall adjacent to the main space which hosts underground concerts and an array of low-key cultural events. Lying just outside the city’s heavily frequented ‘party neighbourhood’, Lumen is the ideal combination of local engagement and cosmopolitan charm, perfect for a delicious lunch, a coffee or a beer with friends or finally submitting that essay I’ve been postponing forever.