Last year, a number of hospitality units serving Hungarian cuisine, such as the one at Camden market, or Gay Hussar, were closed. There is currently only one restaurant in London, where both the menu and the owners are Hungarians, the Rosemary Organic Hungarian Restaurant. What is the secret?
The Rosemary, located 15 minutes from London Bridge, at New Cross Gate, opened four years ago on March 27, 2015. Since then, tens of thousands of guests have visited them, the place is not only a favorite of locals but also of those from broader London and England who want to taste Hungarian flavors and experience true Hungarian hospitality.
Mihály Herczeg, the owner says that the Rosemary has a past, a present and a future. “The future is just as uncertain for everyone as for us, and we never know what it brings.” – he says. – “In the recent years, there have been many political and economic changes around the world, but we have not only stayed here, but we have regularly innovated and looked for ways of offering more to our guests. Our wine tastings, Hungarian dance evenings are always popular, and we’re honoured to welcome internationally known artists like Péter Müller Sziami, László Benkő, Ferenc Darvas and Ferenc Jávori Fegya. ”
The restaurant is rather self-sufficient: they prepare everything locally, from cottage cheese to bread and pasta. The ingredients come from certified organic farms, so the restaurant is less exposed to changes in sources.
“The landlord is so pleased with our results, and what we do for the community that they have just extended our lease. So the Rosemary will stay here and we go on trying to impress our audience. Hungarian cuisine is so famous and special that there should be at least one restaurant in London where we represent it.”
The extent of popularity is well illustrated by the fact that well-known gastro-bloggers and influencers speak and write very highly of the kitchen, they have been added to the legendary list of Time Out magazine, and were featured in Forbes magazine this May.
“Not everybody knows but we have considerably extended our wine offering in the past years.” Mihaly continues. – “We have 76 different wines, many of which are organic. You’d have a hard time finding some of them even in Hungary, not to mention in London.”
So the Rosemary is in full swing with a packed program calendar: concerts, film screenings, dance events with a full house. They celebrated their 4th birthday with a big party at the end of March with a full house.
“Folktone Banda, a bunch of very talented Hungarian and Serbian artists, who promote the world of folk music of the Carpathian Basin, joined us and played during the evening. It was wonderful to see so many of our guests here to celebrate with us. This is our biggest reward.”