Advantages Lovely surroundings, great value Hungarian food
Disadvantages My meat was very fatty
Mid May is still not tourist season at Balaton though the restaurants are starting to prepare for the arrival of holiday makers. The day trippers are just starting to come and many restaurants open for lunch but are not yet open in the evenings. At Tihany we found two that were open for evening meals and on our first night there we dined at Oasis, a large restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, on a quiet residential street between Tihany’s front street and the Inner Lake. Look out for the yellow signs which will direct you to Oasis – eventually; a couple of sign post were ambiguously placed but we got there in the end.Although there are a number of properties with thatched roofs in Tihany (the reeds come from the lakes which need to be cleared annually) this one looks rather incongruous because the place looks more like a tropical beach resort than a country restaurant. As well as the restaurant Oasis is a small complex of holiday apartments. The restaurant is open all year round and the menu changes slightly according to the season.
As it was a warm evening we decided to eat outside and you can access the garden without having to go into the restaurant. Most of the outside tables are free standing while a couple are under a wooden roof. We chose to sit in the open section near the bird house, a small enclosure (more than big enough for the birds that live in it, I hasten to add) containing a few colourful little birds, and a slightly surly parrot. Two other tables were taken and later on a rotund man, sporting a moustache that put me in mind of a walrus, came and imbibed two large glasses of wine before leaving; it wasn’t really lively but it was better than dining alone. Our table afforded us a good view of the garden though this was mostly given over to vegetables rather than flowers.The menu at Oasis offers a bit of everything: traditional Hungarian dishes and international meals, fish from Lake Balaton, salads, meat dishes and desserts. Himself ordered the pike perch with garnish (priced per 10g but worked out around HUF2000 - £6.05) and I chose the goulash with salted potatoes (HUF1700 - £5.14)
Perhaps the best known of Hungarian dishes, goulasch comes in many different varieties, using different meats or with different vegetables added. Not only does it vary depending on the area it's made, but often according to family recipe. This one was a simple beef goulasch served with 'salted potatoes' which in this part of the world means simply boiled.The flavour of this goulasch was excellent, really rich and with plenty of melt in the mouth strips of red pepper, as well as lashings of smoked paprika. There looked to be a lot of beef but there was also a lot of fat on it which was a bit disppointing, but where there was meat it was tender and fell apart with just a touch.The large pike perch was served whole and had been cooked on the grill; it looked delicious with a lovely crisp skin and a great golden colour. I might have been tempted had it not been for the fact that i don't really go for freshwater fish on account of the high number of bones; Himself, though, is more patient and kindly picked his way through the bones to present me with a delicious piece of fish to try; the skin had been simply sesoned before cooking which was perfect as this tasty fish needed no embellishment. It was served on a heap of sauteed mixed peppers, aubergine, courgettes and red onions - a kind of Hungarian ratatouille if you like - with a small pile of sauteed potatoes on the side. It was an excellent dish altogether.
Two delightful little cats made light work of what was left of the fish and the fat from the goulasch and then headed to someone else's table to find out what they could scrounge there.While Himself chose to drink Hungarian beer (described on the menu as 'bear') I chose a large glass of a local wine from the south shores of Balaton, a blended Merlot which complemented my main course. There are some excellent wines made in this area and you can try some very good ones without having to pay a lot of money. We shared a simple dessert of a few balls of strawberry ice cream, nothing remarkable but a nice way to end the meal.
A little off the beaten track, Oasis is much less "showy" than most of the other restaurants in the village, which tend to try to pass themselves off as traditional inns. As a result the menu here is a bit simpler, but the food is still very much "Hungarian". The service is friendly and the surroundings are very pleasant.
Our bill came in at around £17 which is excellent value, especially when you consider that Tihany is a pretty touristy place.
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