My Little Melbourne – Budapest (HU)
A small Hungarian hommage to Australian coffee culture
When I last visited Budapest about 3 years ago, the city center still lacked good, non-touristy options for grabbing a quick bite to eat, enjoying a glass of wine and getting a decent cup of coffee. Being the visitor magnet that it is, Budapest reminded me much of Amsterdam not so long ago. Lots of mediocre restaurants where the food tastes like it’s 4 days old and plenty of tacky bars with extremely dubious characters. On another visit a few years earlier, some friends of mine were presented with a $1000 bill at one such shardy bar and when they refused to pay, they were pushed down the stairs. Charming!
Luckily, this is all changing and in particular the former Jewish quarter has undergone a stunning make over. Running underneath a number of buildings and between Kiraly u. and Dob u. is a thumping strip of great restaurants and bars called Gozsdu udvar. On my first night in Budapest during this last visit, my sister and I had dinner and drinks there and thoroughly enjoyed the brilliant atmosphere. When I woke up the next morning, hungry for a decent breakfast and a cup of coffee, I undercovered the whereabouts of a very promising sounding coffee shop just off Gozsdu udvar, called My Little Melbourne. I threw on some clothes and ran out the door.
It was another stunning morning with the sun starting warm up the streets of Budapest with a radiant glow. I arrived at My Little Melbourne to find it sitting in the shade of a huge row of houses, but I didn’t mind. At this time of day I wasn’t really ready to get my face sunburned. I poked my head inside to find they use a La Marzocco Strada and serve Workshop coffee, amongst others. I didn’t quite expect that sort of set up but then again I didn’t know what to expect really, therefore the reality I found was even more welcome.
Apart from delicious smelling coffees, the guys here were also baking croissants and other yummy things. My Little Melbourne is really not much more than a hole in the wall with a tiny number of seating upstairs and outside but it feels like a homely place where the staff care about your experience and making sure you get the best.
I ordered a flat white as they only do Espresso based drinks and cold drip here, grabbed a seat outside and struck up a conversation with one of the girls who work there. It probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to know that My Little Melbourne is the result of owners Peter and Dia Balázsi falling in love with the outstanding coffee culture of the Australian metropolis while visiting relatives down under. I also spent a few months living in Melbourne 11 years ago but sadly I was not really into coffee back then and I dare say the culture was not quite as advanced then as it is today.
The team at My Little Melbourne puts great emphasis on healthy living, serving up great salads, sandwiches and various nut & fruit bars. This place is indeed great for a quick lunch or for a relaxed afternoon coffee in between doing marathon sightseeing. I loved the flat white I got. When I visited they were using the Workshop Cult of Done blend for most of their Espresso based drinks, although they also have an Italian roast for more traditional and less adventerous locals. I thought this was an interesting strategy and one I had not seen before. Turns out My Little Melbourne started off serving Danesi Caffé back in the day and they also distribute it to other coffee shops in Hungary so in the words of Dia: “It’s kind of one of our kids”.
Afterwards my sister and I traveled down to her current home town of Pecs, in the south of the country where I went to visit her for the weekend. When I returned to Budapest for one full day of coffee hunting I popped into My Little Melbourne again and was surprised to find that the guys not only remembered me but also asked: “How was Pecs? Did you find any good coffee there?” Now that’s what I call relationship building!