The Rosemary - Organic - Hungarian - Restaurant Review -

Would you believe it, if I told you London has only one Hungarian restaurant? By luck, The Rosemary is situated in New Cross Gate, an area of South London near me, but very likely unchartered territory for visitors and Londoners alike.

The Rosemary Organic Hungarian Restaurant interior

New Cross Gate is rather drab and dreary, unlike its neighbours the up and coming Deptford that has attracted a lot of food-critics' attention lately, or even New Cross, home to the famous Goldsmith University and a vibrant club-culture. In this unremarkable environment, you can't miss The Rosemary's frontage with its riot of colours, all flowering window boxes blazing.

The Rosemary Organic Hungarian Restaurant Exterior

#Farm to Table
On arrival, Mihaly Herczeg was on-hand to give us a quick tour and go through his restaurant's ethics. Mihaly comes from a long line of Hungarian farmers. The fruits and vegetables served at the Rosemary are either grown in Mihaly's organic farm in Kent or sourced organically and locally.

The Rosemary Organic Hungarian Blueberrry sauce & pancakes

Having eaten in a fair number of restaurants claiming to be ecologically friendly, I've learnt that a '20 miles radius menu', though very nice, doesn't make a place sustainable.

Sustainability is a package. At the Rosemary, the furniture, wooden chairs, booths, tables have been hand-built by Mihaly's son. Not only does this give such large premises a warm feeling, but it also cuts down on carbon footprints.

To complete the rustic decor, the plates are made and fired on the kiln at the back, and at the front of the house, there is an aquaponic system. Now, this is sustainability.
The Rosemary -Hungarian Restaurant -Organic Wines

Most things are made from scratch, from bread to cottage cheese, soups and sauces, noodles and pancakes. The menu comes complete with an extensive selection of organic wines curated by the sought-after sommelier, Roland Szimeiszter. Prices start at £12 for a bottle of white wine, a little more for the reds. We started with a glass of crisp Szóló, Frivolo from the Tokaj area. I was probably asking too many questions, as with the next glass, I was presented with an encyclopedia of Hungarian wine areas. I can now tell you that Hungary has 20 different wine regions...... There is definitely a good-natured atmosphere at The Rosemary


You'll be hard pushed to argue that Eastern European cuisine is best sampled in the summer. Therefore, visiting The Rosemary on the warmest day of a very hot  June might have been a mistake. An oversight that 20 odd other people were happy to make. Not bad attendance on a weekday.

The service was friendly and smooth, it did cross my mind that on a busy musical winter weekend day, more staff would be required to maintain this level of interaction.

Brie Strudel with blueberry jam
The Rosemary Organic Hungarian Restaurant London Goulash
Hungarian Starter, paprika sauce

We were happy to let Mihaly choose provided that anything cabbagy would remain in the cubby hole. He picked from the list of authentic Hungarian specialities such goulash, stuffed pancakes, brie strudel with blueberry sauce. 

Let's press the pause button for a minute, and let me tell you, how delightful blueberry jam/sauce is. It might be due to the blueberries purpleness which contains terpenes also found in cinnamon, good for the immune system. In my opinion, we don't eat enough blue food. Health is another important factor in this restaurant. Regulars will have noticed a profound change in the menu which now doesn't offer anymore fried food.

The Rosemary -Hungarian Restaurant - slow cooked Lamb Shank
 Chicken in paprika sauce with dumplings

A new ingredient is always a pleasure. Next to the familiar orangy paprika sauce, there were little creamy worm-like things. These are Nokedlies, egg dumplings, delicate and soft. There was little room left for dessert but here it is another tradition, 'Don't dare to leave without eating your pudding'.

The way Mihaly Herczeg presents us with a whole sustainable package anchored in tradition is noteworthy. His genuine bonhomie, his love for music, food and good company is obvious. And if happiness is a full tummy, then The Rosemary makes a lot of clients very very happy.

The Rosemary
178 New Cross Road
SE14 5AA

Tel 020 7998 6922

If you'd like to read more about this restaurant head to Cook Sister where Jeanne interviewed the owner.

Disclaimer: I was invited with a guest to review The Rosemary. Words and opinions are my own. 

No comments:



Related Posts with Thumbnails