Chess Restaurant has a pretty cool décor. The floor is black and white checkboard to mimic a chess board. There is also chess boards and pieces strewn throughout the restaurant to carry the motif.
The meal started with an amuse bouche of roasted beet and goat cheese. It was like a mini beet salad, and a nice way to open the meal.
The Beef Goulash was a nice and comforting dish on a cold night. The beef had broken down to help thicken the soup by releasing its collagen and was very tender. The root vegetables also lent to the hardiness of the dish. The red wine added another layer of flavor, while the noodles remained firm, and the beets added a freshness to the dish.
The Chess Salad contained a nice pile of ham set atop fresh, crisp greens. There were bits of sweet celery, garlic with a punch, and artichokes to provide some heft to the dish.
The Yellow Split Pea Soup was a little on the thin side. It was also kind of rustic as it wasn’t completely smooth, but did have good flavor. There was some paprika in the soup which added some warmth, along with chives to add a nice light onion kick. The soup also contained duck livers which added some extra earthiness and richness to the dish.
The Foie Gras Mousse was a contrast of textures and flavors. The foie gras was light and creamy, and set atop a duck aspic with chunks of meat shining through the gelatin. The foie gras was well controlled and did not overpower the dish.
The Saddle of Wild Boar had a nice gamey flavor that didn’t overpower the dish. The dish was paired with a wasabi meringue to add a kick of flavor and spice. This was offset by the waffle with ginger and honey. This was a well-balanced dish.
The Salmon was a little charred on the outside, but remained tender and flaky inside. The beurre blanc was rich and creamy, with a nice amount of acid. The deep fried shallots added a crunchy texture that contrasted the sauce. The salmon eggs also provided an extra brininess.
The Poppy Seed – Marzipan Souffle was somewhat surprising. Although it had risen like you would expect from a soufflé, the dessert was rather dense. There were a ton of poppy seeds in this dish, and if you are not a fan it would probably be overload. The poppy seeds were a bit much for me. This was paired with a carrot-vanilla sorbet, whose sweetness was controlled with the carrots. It was creamy, and provided a temperature contrast. The raisins also added an element of sweetness and alcohol.
The meal was finished off with a complimentary mango mousse, which was light and had just the right amount of sweetness. The mango shone through. Chess Restaurant is located on a little side street and can be somewhat of a challenge to find, but is only a 10 minute walk away from the Boscolo Budapest Hotel.