The word spreads by word of mouth, with many people going to Puck’s feet even from Budapest.
The name Ádám Pohner is well known to everyone who is familiar with the world of gastronomy. At the age of 25, as head chef of Kistücsök restaurant, considered a bastion of rural gastronomy, he has already reached the finals of the Bocuse d’Or World Championship. His career was not interrupted: he worked, among other things, at the Olympia restaurant and in 2022 at the Platan restaurant in Tata, which was the first Hungarian country restaurant to obtain two Michelin stars. Meanwhile, her partner Luca was working as a marketer. In 2022, they thought big: they set off together, leaving behind the Michelin-starred restaurants and the bustling city, to open their own restaurant in the small village of Borsaud. We visited them at their little restaurant called Iszkor, at the foot of Bükk, in Mályinka.
Bocuse d’Or, Beste, Bock
The couple bought the old pub building in the village in 2022. They invested all their money in it, so much so that upon opening the wines were already being ordered from the winemakers. Adam, he says, always knew he wanted to do something in this field. Malinka played an important role in her childhood, as her grandparents and mother also lived here. The 2019 Bocuse d’Or was preceded by preparations, then his days were filled with foreign trips, invitations and interviews. He felt like he wanted a change. He already had a pre-conceived idea of his place in his head, so he moved from Kestokchok to Tata already knowing that he would not stay long.
In the fall of 2021, he and Luca visited the bar, which was already for sale, during a short visit. They knew right away that this would be the right place. At that time, Luca didn’t think he would fall in love with country life so much, because it was a sharp change after Pest. According to plans, Adam was supposed to start the restaurant with a friend, but life made it different. Now they both see that things couldn’t have gone better.
Villagers and tourists prepared
They say Adam’s connection to the village has helped greatly with the integration process, but there are still some hurdles during the renovation process. Of course, there were those who were skeptical about the idea of opening a restaurant. There was no shortage of kibitzers either: some claimed they could only succeed if they fired at noon. Of course, as happens elsewhere, the construction professionals were not that efficient either, and sometimes they simply quit and disappeared forever.
Mályinka is located in the Miskolc-Eger-Kazincbarcika triangle. Borsod village has a population of only 400 people, but everything is within easy reach. Not surprisingly, most of them come from the surrounding towns mentioned. What’s more is that more and more guests from Pest are visiting specifically for Iszkor. According to the Adams family, word of mouth is spreading about the restaurant and D.C. residents are coming to them with genuine curiosity. Of course, they also come from the village, some people organize family and friends gatherings here, others just come for a good beer when the “new” pub is closed. In winter, many skiers come from Bangkot, and in February there is no stopping at the restaurant.
Adam and Luca also like to visit the region, which is how they met many of their suppliers. The beer was also discovered during an impromptu visit to the factory in Tokaj. They get the meat from their nearby village, know the animals well, and process them later. They meet regularly with farmers and discuss what is needed. In such cases, of course, it is not just a matter of order, they discuss with whom what happened. In fact, they happen to be served with impromptu tastings of current delicacies, which eventually end up on the menu in a large proportion. As they say, they maintain a friendly relationship with each other.
The fish comes from Lillafüred’s trout and is fresh every week from the smoke house in the village. Buying vegetables is a little more difficult, but everything is local and most of it is bought from the surrounding area. There are also farmers who grow certain herbs for their own pleasure. The cheeses come from the Bucky cheese factory, and the dairy products are from Sohave. “These dairy products contain A2 milk, which can also be consumed by people who are sensitive to lactose.” Adam reveals an important aspect. Everything at their bistro is free of additives, and it’s a little more expensive, but – he says – the quality is worth it. “All the wines come from the region, and we also buy them from small wineries. Not consciously, but there are also many natural wines among them.” Luca adds. Incidentally, he is the couple’s wine director, knows wine well, and was also a member of the Community Wine Society.
do not stop
It is very important for producers to be able to rely on the restaurant. Even the locals are confident that the village bistro will weather obstacles for a long time to come. Further developments are still being planned, and the next project is a beautiful gazebo, which will be winterized later. As Adam says “We’ve opened it, but we’re not finished yet.”.
Cover image: Iszkor – Mályinka