Friday, 2 December 2016

Nine Budapest bars with dazzling decor pt2: Apacuka - the sculpture park in a bar

Sculpture by Gergo Kovách, dominates Apacuka's main room

Apacuka (Nagymezo utca 54-56) is a bit like stepping into a hand of cards from the surreal boardgame Dixit. A geometric steel staircase; gigantic wine-bottle containing, micro-cosmically, more wine bottles; a huge statue of a bugle-playing cartoon lady, surrounded by a flock of geese. The sculptures are faux-naive, their child-like simplicity also suggesting hidden depths. The scale is off-kilter, but joyous rather than discomforting. In the street window, there's a sequin-covered mannequin - but she doesn't beckon or pose like a shop-window dummy, instead she looks like a confident bad-ass: you can join her club, if you're bold enough.

Adding an 18th century portraiture twist in the bar area

The bar and restaurant has a polish that sets it apart from the shabby-chic haunted-forest decor of Instant, just down the road. The overall design is by Balázs Csepregi, and the twirling lampshades, backlit glass scenes, and huge wall-spanning 17th-century portrait mark this place as a high class eaterie.

Winner of Best Beer Garden at Terasz Budapest 2016 awards

But then the sculpture installations - by Gergo Kovách and Norbert Kotormán - add an eccentric, beguiling twist. They also extend to the award-winning terrace where a giant pair of sunglasses and an abstract nude (by the same two sculptors) surround the tables in a peaceful courtyard that won the 2016 Best Beer Garden at the Terasz Budapest award; no easy task in this city.

The subtle innovation continues onto the menu (by chef Gabór Bacsa) which takes Hungarian and Mediterranean dishes and gives them a slight twist: like having black salsify and brick pasta as the vegetarian starter, or red snapper (instead of the standard pike perch or salmon) as the fish option for a main.

Clever but not over-fussy food and a beautiful sculpture garden vibe that continues indoors for these winter months.

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