It’s not every day I feel compelled to write a travel review, but once in a while I have an experience at a place so rewarding that I feel I owe it to the establishment to get its name out there. The fact that Kuglóf Kávézó, tucked into the passageway at Pesti Barnabás utca number 1, is less than 3 weeks old, makes me even more adamant that it still be there when I go back.
Kuglóf is small as coffee shops go, with a naturally lit interior, high wooden tables and chairs, and an intimate seating area with a sunny view of the arched passageway it calls home. Outdoor seating is also available, with a view of gorgeous Elizabeth Bridge and the Danube.
Reminiscent of a hipster Brooklyn café, Kuglóf has immediate charm. The staff is friendly and–thankfully for me–English proficient. The croissant and pastry selection is superb; all seem to be freshly baked each morning. Adding to the homely appeal of the place, the croissants are self serve. My favorites are the mini croissants which are perfectly sized for dipping. Unlike most Budapest cafés, it is open until well into the evening with a full selection, so it’s perfect for a late Sunday croissant or for getting homework done on a Monday night.
All your typical coffee shop fare is served, including an array of cool drinks (iced coffees, smoothies, etc). Their cappuccino cups are of a tapered design I’ve never seen anywhere, and even their gorgeous construction does not do justice to the coffee inside. The coffee is frothy and smooth, professionally and (I believe) hand ground.
I highly recommend the hot chocolate, made in the classic Euro-cocoa style. Available in milk and dark, the cocoa is a melted delight, served with a touch of added chocolate shavings for that chocolate-induced heart attack you always dreamed of.
It’s not often that a café gets everything right. The staff, the decor, the selection, the quality, and the view make this all a place worth visiting. It also stands in stark contrast to the opportunistically placed Café Molnár next door. Even so, I hope Molnár continues to draw tourists like flies to honey, so real gems like Kuglóf are left to the insiders. It’s worth it.