Hungary Thai is a quirky little resto in the heart of Kensington Market that marries stick-to-your-ribs Eastern European fare with trendy Thai dishes. Sure, it's a bit of an odd pairing, but as a lover of both, I figure it's worth a try. Schnitzel curry, maybe?
Grabbing a table for two, the friendly Eastern European waitress presents us with a big plastic pitcher of water and an enormous (nearly table-sized) menu. As it turns out, Hungary Thai is less about fusion and more about offering the best of both continents. You can pick from a list of either Hungarian or Thai classics.
We order some Vegetable Fritters to start, along with Hungarian Schnitzel and the Basil Tofu rice dish as mains.
The fritters turn out to be a mix of broccoli, cauliflower and onion slices, all battered and fried to crispiness. They're a little dark, but surprisingly not that oily. Served on the side is a helping of both peanut and Thai fish sauce.
The other dishes arrive soon after and we realize we might be in over our heads. Portions are huge and we were already half-filled with fritter. Look delicious though, so without hesitation, we dig in.
Our subsequent findings are as split as the menu...
The schnitzel is delicious. Pictured at the top, this is the "Hungarian" style (the menu offers several varieties), topped with onions, sweet peppers and mushrooms. The pork is pounded so thin you can cut through it with your fork, yet remains juicy inside its crisp breaded exterior - a sign of quality home style goodness.
The dish comes with cole slaw and crispy fries. The fries are clearly commercially bought (they remind us of the ones you get at Costco) but are honestly really tasty never-the-less. Too bad we hadn't just ordered a big side of those instead of the Thai dish.
The Basil-Tofu on steamed rice was awful. I wanted to like it, but my taste buds wouldn't have it. The menu had offered "stir-fried tofu with mango slices, fresh garlic &
sweet basil"... but what on earth was this sauce?
The mystery red sauce - let's call it ketchup - just wasn't palatable. I felt like I'd been transported to the Eaton Centre food court for some hot plate faux-Thai lunch, only this was worse. It was thick and sweet and... totally ketchup. Remember when McDonald's came out with "pizza"? Yeah.
I turned to the schnitzel for relief, but it was too late. The taste of that "Thai" stuck and haunted me all evening long.
Would I return? For Hungarian, absolutely. For Thai, never. There are easily a dozen places within walking distance that serve up quality, authentic Thai worth having.