After 20 years, Márk Molnár returned home to Hungary to create the menu and new dishes of Budapest’s newest wine restaurant as a chef.
It started in a month, 20 years. There are few Hungarian chefs with similar foreign experience to Márk Molnár. He is still thinking in English, a kitchen team is being formed, but the new menu on the N28 already reflects what Mark wants.
Along with Márk Molnár, Basque gastronomy also arrived in Budapest
“I owe my love of gastronomy to my father. The first restaurant of my life where I worked for a year was the Berki inn in Körmend. Here I got to know what Hungarian hospitality means, and compared to the top places, I experience this devaluation, but I don’t do much, because I learned a lot here with the chef, Zoltán Pilnay, who previously worked in Germany. When I got back to Budapest, I went to the kitchen of Fausto’s Restaurant and Chez Daniel. I worked alongside French Italian and chefs, so the effects were already understood at a traditional international early stage. I could have been a private chef with an extremely well-known TV personality fork today, but I decided to go out to work for free for a month in San Sebastian, which eventually turned 20 years old, ”says Mark.
20 years abroad in the best places with the best names
He dates the start of his international career to 2001, when he spent a few months in San Sebastián, Spain. There is no other place in the world where we can find Michelin-starred restaurants so concentrated. worked at some of the top Basque restaurants in the Berasategui Group, then went to Mallorca and Tenerife. In 2003, he staged at El Bulli, where he returned for years. It was a great honor for him as he was selected from over 10,000 applicants. The head chef and co-owner of the three Michelin-starred restaurants was Ferran Adria, an apostle of molecular gastronomy.
Spain was followed by Japan. He met the famous chef Chikara Yamada at El Bulli. Because of it, he moved to Tokyo and spent a year here. He later returned to cooperate with Chikara again and again. Comerc 24 is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona in 2004. Paris will follow in 2005, working in three Michelin-starred restaurants such as Le Taillevent, Arpege and Pavillon de Le Doyen. The latter is a creative chef. He spent half a year in the kitchen of the modern L’Oursin Bistrot. He already lived in London in 2007 and was the chef at the contemporary Japanese restaurant ZUMA. In 2010, the trial of ZUMA Miami will also open. He also attended Gastón Arcurio, Heston Blumenthal and a two-week advanced course at Alain Ducasse in Stazu, Peru. In 2011, it opened several restaurants in Dubai. Noteworthy is Karma Kafe, who represents Pan-Asian-style cuisine created from the Buddha Bar, and for three years of Mark’s work, she received the TIME OUT Magazine Award for Best Pan-Asian Restaurant in Dubai. In 2017, he spent another year in Miami, where he was involved in the complete construction of the $ 10 million restaurant of Russian restaurant guru Arkady Novikov, following the process from scratch to opening.
Before returning to Budapest, his last foreign stop was in Saigon, Vietnam. He is the Culinary Director and Innovative Executive Chef of VISE Hospitality. In addition to creating and coordinating the day-to-day coordination of several other restaurants, he primarily runs the fusion Qui Cuisine & Mixology Restaurant and Bao Bei Restaurant, which evokes Cantonese cuisine from Hong Kong.
When you miss your family, you have to come home
After such a precedent, many may wonder why Márk came home and what Budapest can give him. He mentions the family and how much they missed it: “Social media can give the illusion that I’m not away from them, but I can finally see my mother in two days and a half, and that’s where it fits the most right now”.
In Budapest, too, Márk continues the well-established practice abroad of creating the kitchen offerings of several catering units of groups of companies. N28 Wine & Kitchen is one of them, here you can show yourself to the audience in Budapest for the first time: “N28 is a wine restaurant where I draw from the Spanish and French experience. I also built the menu in such a way that the love of life of these southern peoples radiates from it, ”says the chef about the concept. “The menu is divided into three main parts: there is a very strong pintxo menu, which is a sophisticated Basque version of tapas. now comes the matured meats, i.e. charcuterie, pâtés and cheeses. In the end, there are the main dishes, or the big tapas, ”explains Mark.
The world-famous Hungarian chef favors intelligibility in the kitchen, according to him, fine dining restaurants do not have to talk about pipettes and edible flowers, but the use of the best Hungarian ingredients is a basic criterion. When creating a wine concept, it is especially important that it meets the needs of a group of friends, a family, or a couple who can serve. “I imagine there will be times when more pintxos come to the table and everyone tastes it. I also see in front of me, for example, when a gentleman orders a dry-ripened Hungarian rib-eye dish with Catalan fried vegetables, and his partner chooses a superfood salad, for example. But the concept also includes placing a steak sliced in the middle like an elevated tapas pintxo, ”adds Mark.
He’s been on the menu for the past few days
Red deer goulash with ancho chili, grits, tarragon, dried wild mushrooms and arbequina olive oil, as well as mangalica steak with green chili sauce and grilled padron peppers proved to be a favorite. The star, however, is N28 Pintxo, which has grilled fattened duck liver, mangalica ham, tiger prawns, Catalan coca bread and balsamic vinegar reduction. The Basque and French gastronomy has arrived in Budapest for Márk Molnár, the N28 awaits those interested with light, elegant yet complex flavors.