In 2011, Hungarian chef Krisztina “Maki” Kobza wowed food critics and audiences with her award-winning San Francisco restaurant Kokopelli (which means “spice” in Hungarian), which featured a diverse menu of uncommon flavors and textures. By this point, Kobza and her husband were spending time in Budapest. Soon, they launched Király, a Budapest-based culinary scene making itself heard on the international scene, and tackling issues like gender parity, racism, economic inequality, and working-class struggle.
In the fall of 2017, I became friends with Maki and hoped to learn more about her experiences in Budapest. She provided me with extensive, in-depth information about what life was like for ethnic Hungarians in the country, where she grew up, and the food scene. She shared deep personal stories about the forces that shaped her culinary take on things.
Király, a Hungarian restaurant, felt like a safe space for me to learn more about the massive Hungarian diaspora, and for Kobza and her friend in London, Mehta Andrej, it felt like a perfect spot to share their passions and recipes.
We launched Budapest Cocktail Special, inspired by Király’s list of cocktails, featuring drinks that reflect the dishes the duo had served in their hometown. In our email newsletter, we paired recipes with a blog about the restaurant and its recipes. Simultaneously, we curated cocktails for Király’s tasting menu, bringing together the flavors of the kitchen with the cocktails of the bar. Király’s menu also includes cocktails inspired by brewing at, and created using, the city’s five craft breweries.