Several dozen types of Hungarian craft beer accompanied by black pudding, haggis, meat pâté and other specialities from the British Isles await visitors in Budapest’s first “Steampunk” pub, the Krak’n Town. But beware: if you enter this pub with the unusually lovely decoration, you may be lost forever in the droll stories of the parallel universe.
Steampunk is described as a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternative history setting. It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes: “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.“
When you walk into the premises under 31/A József körút, you find yourself in a completely different time zone: within the four walls of the restaurant, which opened only three months ago, it’s already the year 2316.
However, nothing reminds us of the future visions that we know from classic modern science-fiction films. Instead of the classic futuristic style, the interior is that of an elegant pub from Victorian England with its dark wooden tables, benches upholstered with black leather and thick velvet curtains.
Plus there are some strange details: the copper pipes protruding from the walls here and there, pressure valves, portholes with mysterious red light streaming from them, and of course the oversized mechanical kraken – a legendary giant sea monster said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland – that hangs from the ceiling around the entrance area.
Enter the Steampunk universe, full steam ahead
This typical mixture of nostalgia and futurism is, then, what they call Steampunk – a movement based on early science-fiction literature, for example the books of Jules Verne. Steampunk presents a vision of the future that is based on the imagination of people from the time of industrialisation.
Steam refers to the most important invention and catalyst of the technical revolution, the steam engine. Yet despite also being future-oriented, people in the Steampunk movement prefer to rely on handicraft work and cogwheels instead of modern techniques, and this is why most of the unique interior design elements in Krak’n Town are made by hand as well, as the lord of the house, Péter Hopsmalt von Corsair, explains.
He is dressed in a bizarre costume, just like all the other employees of the restaurant, which can be described as the “air pirate meets the Victorian gentleman”. Corsair, also known as Péter Szűcs, is an experienced gastronome and has already been responsible for some of the most popular pubs and cafés on the Budapest scene, such as Kis Á, Zappa Café and Picasso Point.
The secret of his success is that every restaurant follows a different concept, and they are all quite unusual.
Hearty pub food
For Szűcs, offering a unique range of dishes is part of the theme. This is why most dishes on the Krak’n Town menu can’t be found anywhere else in Budapest. We are talking about a kind of typical British pub food: ranging from English breakfast over Scottish eggs (a snack specialty fried in a coat of minced meat), Yorkshire pudding and black pudding right up to haggis.
These dishes all have something in common: they are hearty, rich in calories and damn delicious. Further, Krak’n Town specialises in all kinds of steaks, such as tenderloin, rib-eye and T-bone.
According to Szűcs, they are especially proud of their Tomahawk Steak. This one comes in several versions ranging from the lightweight of 450 grams to the “killer steak” weighing even 1.65 kilograms.
Although, Szűcs assures us, they have had guests with a steel stomach able to cope with this challenge, the sheer dimension of this portion of meat makes us doubtful. Still, you can wash down the bites with one of the many Hungarian craft beers, including Kaltenecker, Hübris, Zip’s Brew House, Balkezes and Harapunk, or one of the imported British ales on offer.
Krak’n Town, which has space for 70 to 80 guests on two floors, recently opened its new sports basement. Another 20 to 30 guests can be seated in this room equipped with many bar chairs and large-screen televisions, cheering for their favourite team and enjoying even more craft beers fresh from the tap.
Krak’n Town with its explosive mixture of retro and modern is a definite suggestion not only for Steampunk fans or fans of British cuisine, but for anyone who is open to turning a pub visit into a futuristic adventure.
We specifically suggest visiting on Sundays for the Sunday Roast, a brilliant three-course menu for HUF 4990 that includes a large plate of stewed meat dishes, a lot of vegetables and thick gravy.
If you reserve in advance you can even save HUF 1000 from the menu price. Now that’s a real bargain.
31/A József körút, District VIII
Open daily noon to midnight
Reservations at (+36) 30 364-5658