I recently noticed that Gali’s, the Italian on West Maitland Street, had finally given up the ghost. It was never that busy and while I had several enjoyable meals there it was not amongst the best Italians in the city.
In its place following a whirlwind refurb comes Magna Hungaria, a Hungarian restaurant whose initial site on Leopold Place I visited last year.
I visited in their first week of trading, more by necessity than design. It was a rugby weekend meaning the established Haymarket restaurants were rather busy. I was pleased to get a good window table at this freshly opened and somewhat undiscovered spot.
The decor is fresh and simple. The bar is covered in a little hut sort of thing for some reason, which evoked a tiki look but presumably is also characteristic of Hungary in some way.
The menu is similar to the previous place but with an expanded selection. I started with a chicken soup in the Ujhazi style. I followed with langos, a deep-fried flatbread which came accompanied with garlic sour cream, cheese and paprika spiced sausage.
The soup arrived with a wonderful aroma of chicken and butter. It was outstanding stuff and rightly joins the Soupquest exceptionals. The clear chicken broth was packed with flavour and soft pieces of chicken and carrot were accompanied by little noodle piece in the spaetzle style. It was delicious.
The main course langos was not to the same standard. It was a highly unusual item, sort of like a deconstructed deep-fried pizza. The sausage was good, but I’m not sure I quite worked out how best to reconstruct things for maximum impact. I’m pleased to have tried it but won’t rush to order it next time.
I was glad to sample their pickle salad, once again. It was just as good as before.
So overall, it was good to renew acquaintances with Magna Hungaria in their new premises. I like the place and think it will flourish. There are lots of hearty, warming dishes to sample so it’s a great option as the cold winter nights set in.
Blythe scores Magna Hungaria
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
I ate: chicken soup a la Ujhazi, deep fried pizza base
I drank: pilsner
I wore: lilac
Total bill: £26
Address: 29 West Maitland Street, Edinburgh EH12 5DX