A few weeks after this website officially launched last September, we noted that gourmet food shops seemed to have become generic in Budapest. In the 11 months since, this trend has intensified, with local gourmands constantly telling us about all places they are now able to easily find once impossible-to-obtain culinary ingredients. And now we may be ready to finally declare the era of if only we could get that over here officially over, now that you can just walk into Tesco and walk out with an armload of flavor-packed and nicely butchered Irish T-bone steaks like the ones we torched last weekend.
Before going any further, let us first say that we don’t think the steaks we rustled up at the Budaörs outlet of the UK hypermarket chain are available at every Tesco in Hungary, among which are locations in Kiskunfélegyháza, Hódmezővásárhely and other places where the gospel of well-marbled marha butchered into cuts like the classic “T” has likely never been preached. Meanwhile, the person who tipped us off about the find – master griller J.N. – says that even in Budaörs, it helps to know the man cutting the meat. It’s still Hungary.
We would also point out that the two steaks we got might have benefited from not being pre-cut and left to further “age” in the widow of the meat department. We won’t say they were off, though if you sniffed real hard at them before they went on the grill, there seemed to be a little something more than just the normal scent of dry-aging.
But who cares, when you’ve got T-bones on the grill, and for a sensible if not cheap Ft 4,699 (€18.80) a kilo, or roughly Ft 2,500 per very satisfied beefeater. This is much less than what similar cuts have been going for at local gastro-emporium Culinaris, and about what you’d pay for a dried-out slab of hay-choked domestic milk-cow in many restaurants in Hungary.
We honored these two fine specimens with the traditional Florentine trial by fire over a white-hot bed of hardwood coals, followed by a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, a big pinch of sea salt and a light spray of lemon.
It was a trial they passed, in perfect medium-rare colors.
In addition to the T-bone, the Budaörs big T also stocks Irish sirloin and tenderloin, for slightly higher prices. Get ‘em while they last – or before they show up at your local corner shop, killing the thrill of discovering one of the few remaining Holy Grails of hard-to-get ingredients in Hungary.