The Gay Hussar

2 Greek Street , London, W1D 4NB

4 reviews

41 Hungarian Soho

  • The Gay Hussar restaurant London
  • The Gay Hussar
  • The Gay Hussar
  • The Gay Hussar
  • The Gay Hussar

SquareMeal Review of The Gay Hussar

Even policy wonks and modern-day Machiavellis have to eat, and hungry lefties have a home-from-home in the Gay Hussar, whose long, narrow, panelled dining room is hung with the Martin Rowson caricatures to prove it. New Labour may be dead, but old Soho lives on here, in hefty portions of Hungarian dumplings, goulash and schnitzel. Chilled wild-cherry soup adds a touch of refinement to the ‘reassuringly expensive’ menu, with goose and pork pâté or smoked Hungarian sausage for stouter appetites. To follow, smoked goose breast with red cabbage and sólet (a variant of cassoulet) is good and straightforward, while stuffed cabbage or fish dumplings are doughy platefuls – and that’s before you’ve added sides or contemplated strudel or dobos torta. Hungarian wines, such as medium-dry Tokaji Muscat Blanc, are well worth trying.

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4.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.5

Atmosphere: 4.5

Value: 3.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Jonny Garrett bronze reviewer 19 April 2011

Shrove Tuesday is the day that Christians use up all their food stuffs before the 40-day lent fast. Given the amount of ingredients it used, the Gay Hussar must have a very full pantry indeed. This may be partly because the restaurant was empty when we arrived. The ambience was more like a library. My companion and I whispered conspiratorially while exchanging guilty glances, worried that a waiter may come and “shh” at us. Towards the end of the evening it began to fill, but by then we were too distracted by the glorious food to notice. The downstairs room is a cosy mix between a living room and train dining carriage. The waiters friendly and delighted to talk about the food, wine and history of the restaurant. Being just of Soho Square it has seen its fair share of the highlife. The walls are adorned with caricatures famous politicians and journalists that have eaten there, a social circle it fully justifies. Their pancakes are world away from the lemon and sugar creations soon to be stuck to kitchen ceilings throughout the UK. My deep-fried goulash-stuffed pancake was as hearty as any British stew and had a depth of flavour that belied its simple roots. The the veal itself was slightly overpowered by the sauce, but you hardly even noticed. Our bottle of Tokaji Muscat Blanc did power through however. Its floral nature gave it an extremely sweet start and dry finish that cut through the heavy sauces. Hungarian wine is not exactly a staple of restaurant lists, or indeed supermarket shelves, but their white wines are often worth a risk. For pudding I had the walnut pancakes, made famous by Budapest celebrated restaurant Gundel, after which the pudding is named. The dark chocolate sauce and walnut and rum filling were savoury enough to stop the dish being overwhelming, and the raisins gave short, sharp bursts of sweetness. After such a heavy main however, the second pancake could have easily been replaced by some whipped cream, to balance the plate. Chocoholics would doubtless disagree. The menu was traditional, varied and reassuringly expensive. The only flaw I could find was that there was too much on the plate: too much thought, too much food and, sometimes, too many flavours. But in hearty cuisine this is not necessarily a bad thing and I left contented, feeling like I had prepared for a 40-day fast.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Louise L. 25 February 2011

There’s nothing gay about the Gay Hussar. Eastern European it definitely is. You feel the oppression as soon as you walk through the door. The manager greeting us couldn’t look more miserable if she’d tried harder. Where’s the music? The ambiance? The happy customers? The hors d’oeuvres to start were incredible in a bad way. How can you get cucumber wrong? No matter, I was sure I was safe with a veal schnitzel for main…WRONG! The schnitzel had more resemblance to an old leather handbag and so incredibly dry I’m sure the waiter must have thought I ordered a side dish of cotton mouth. Seems the people I was eating with felt the same about their Hungarian delights. Most of it went back to the kitchen! Undeterred, we sampled a Hungarian liquor called Unicum to round off the night (none of us felt brave enough to sample the sweet cheese pancakes on the dessert menu). Has anyone ever had a liquor that’s slightly fizzy before? We questioned how long it had been on the shelf and were assured that the restaurant sells oodles of these a week. Really? People really come back for the aftertaste of stomach acid in their mouth? I’m amazed this place is still in business but it seemed to be busy when we left so clearly there’s no accounting for taste. After complaining to the manager, we were grudgingly given 20% off our food but it came with a lot of huffing and puffing. I’ve never felt compelled to write a bad review before but this was just horrendous. My advice? Give this place a wide berth and spend your money on Burger King instead.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

JohnJohn S. 15 November 2010

If you are familiar with real Hungarian cuisine you will be very disappointed with the Gay Hussar. Most of the dishes are poor copies of the real homemade Hungarian fare and to be honest I would feel embarrassed to bring somebody to this eatery and proclaim it as being real Hungarian restaurant. The quality of the dishes is poor and the taste leaves allot to be desired. When I went there the other evening they had run out of Galuska (dumplings made of flour, eggs and water) that would be like a fish and chip shop running out of chips. The lame excuse from the waitress was that they had run out of eggs and they could not buy them locally as only very special organic eggs would be acceptable!! The Gulyas soup was over spiced, the gypsy pork medallions were over cooked without a hint of garlic or taste and the shredded liver was like rubber. Finally my partner decided to try and brighten up a miserable experience by ordering the Somloi Galuska, this tasty rum flavoured sponge bathing in lashings of chocolate sauce, raisins with fresh whipped cream on-top had been turned into a piece of stale dry cake with a few drops of chocolate sauce dripped over it. The chef has apparently been there for 22 years, I think this guy has done more to destroy the identity of Hungarian food than anybody else. At £80 for two for such a disaster I would recommend that this place is avoided like the plague. Unfortunately, if you want to experience real Hungarian cuisine you have to travel to Hungary!

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Mark S. 03 April 2009

Hungarian fayre but without the taste of authentic Hungarian food and at a very unHungarian price!

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