Tuk-tucked away on a quiet corner of Paulay Ede street lies an oasis of Shanghai-inspired Budapest cool, which doubles as a lifesaver when you want a cocktail around 4 PM on a Sunday — which sounds to me like the perfect time to have a Santo Graal (a tantalizing concoction of gin, bergamot and bitters) yet most other bars in the area are either closed, don’t have the Santo Graal, or both.
Should you land the red birdcage-shaped seat by the window (afternoon hours are relaxed, the evening can get a little busy) you can lounge in it browsing through a thematically arranged cocktail collection — the themes are naturally Asian, with inspiration drawn from the ceremony of tea, fencing or calligraphy. This latter section is particularly enticing, as it contains a specimen called Ink which consists of vodka, Choya yuzu liqueur, bitters and spices. It has a dark blue colour and can be used for actual writing on the piece of paper with which it is served.
Besides the specials of the house, they will of course mix classic cocktails as well, and excellent ones at that- the Negroni might just be the best I’ve had in Budapest, and that says a lot, given the top class competition of Boutiq bar. One small piece of advice though: the door leading to the adjacent hotel’s hall and the restrooms is of very beautiful, clean glass and a couple of fine cocktails might just render it completely invisible, so tread carefully.