Things I enjoy a lot: new restaurants that bring a cuisine not otherwise represented in the city. Things I really like: when those restaurants are a really quirky and rewarding insight into a culture that we don’t perhaps encounter so much in our workaday existences.
The latest to join this stable is our only currently trading Hungarian restaurant, Magna Hungaria. In the Leopold Place premises previously occupied by Thai Pad, I’d only stumbled upon them when trawling the delivery services. I pondered whether in my sozzled state I fancied a big plate of goulash and was eventually talked out of it.
On a rain-soaked Wednesday I found the opportunity to visit in person so grabbed at the chance.
It seems to be associated with the hotel upstairs so had a smattering of patrons. The place was smart enough but fairly unremarkable. There was a strong sense of the red, white and green of the Hungarian flag.
Goulash aside, the menu held a parade of the unfamiliar and the unpronounceable. I started by pointing at the menu entry for hortobagyi palacsinta then the beef porkolt stew with tarhonya to follow. I accompanied things with Hungarian wines of appropriate hues.
The starter was a chicken stuffed pancake served with paprika chicken then topped with sour cream. It was really very good with deliciously marinated chicken and a light and crisp pancake. I enjoyed its balance of flavours very much.
The main course was another strong dish. The tarhonya was along the lines of giant couscous and the beef was deeply flavourful. It was in very little sauce and put me in mind of rendang beef.
The waiter asked if I’d like a pickled salad accompaniment which sounded good to me. With tomatoes, gherkins and chillis, this was top stuff. The loaf of accompanying bread was good but rather too generous a portion.
So overall, I’m glad we have a Hungarian restaurant in the city once more. Magna offers hearty dishes and good Hungarian wines for a very reasonable price. I can see myself bringing people here and would recommend it to you.
Blythe scores Magna
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
I ate: hortobagyi palacsinta; beef porkolt with tarhonya
I drank: gruner veltliner, bull’s blood
I wore: new pinstripe trousers
Total bill: £25.50
Address: 20A Leopold Place, Edinburgh EH7 5LB