Dining Out: Upper Vineyard, Topping Street, Blackpool

The Upper Vineyard restaurant on Topping Street
The Upper Vineyard restaurant on Topping Street
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Budapest is one of my favourite cities to have visited in recent years thanks to its culture, history and stunning architecture.

So there was a small frisson of excitement when during research for a news story on Topping Street, I stumbled across a newly opened Hungarian restaurant.

Goulash soup

Goulash soup

Ok, so it could not offer views of the Danube - but there was goulash soup on the menu.

And in terms of the cuisine, it is certainly authentic, as the couple who run the restaurant hail from Hungary themselves.

Long-standing Blackpool diners will recognise the upstairs premises occupied by the Upper Vineyard as having been operated by various restaurateurs over the years.

The new owners have done a great job with the interior which boasts pristine white tablecloths, arty lighting and a cosy bar area.

Inside the Upper Vineyard restaurant

Inside the Upper Vineyard restaurant

We were led to a table by the window and firstly perused the wine list, from which we chose a bottle of Tama Duzsi Blaufrankisch, a fruity, but not too heavy bodied, Hungarian red.

The food menu offers a mixture of both Hungarian and English fare so customers can choose from dishes such as fillet steak, duck breast and sea bass.

But for the more adventurous, seeking a taste of eastern Europe, how about Hortobagy Pancake or Budapest style steak served with duck liver, mushrooms and peas ragu.

As we made our decisions, we were brought a dish of olives and breadsticks courtesy of the house which was a welcome touch.

For our starters, my husband Clive opted for the goulash soup which he declared the best he ever had.

It was not over-facing, and he opted out of having the dumplings, for fear of being too full for his main course.

I want for egg plant cream, which tasted far better than it sounds.

It arrived in a neat ceramic dish accompanied by red onion and toasted bread, and was full of flavour.

After first checking it was not too similar to his soup, Clive chose the Hungarian vegetable stew for his main but added in Hungarian sausage to give it a bit more punch.

It arrived with rice and an accompaniment of tomatoes and peppers.

There is also of course goulash on the menu as a main course.

As a fan of pork, I decided to try Hungarian pork medallions which were wrapped in bacon and came with smoked sausages, tomato and peppers and chunky roast potatoes.

Both dishes (we each had a taste of the others choice) were delicious.

My pork was tender and full of flavour while the stew was mouth-watering.

It was served with a small dish of paprika so you could add further spice to suit your taste.

Portions were a good size but not too much that you leave your table feeling over-stuffed.

Our food throughout had arrived on modern white crockery meaning while it may have been traditional in taste, it was contemporary in style.

There is a choice of desserts including Greek yogurt with fruit compote and chocolate cheese cake, but we opted for coffee to round off our meal.

The bill, when asked for, was delivered along with an elegant small glass each of Hungarian speciality Magna Macum, a poppy seeds liqueur.

Be warned, at the moment the restaurant accepts cash only, but it is expecting to resolve that in the near future to enable customers to use their bank cards.

Our total bill came to £55.25.