Hidden gem: Discovering Turul Project’s Hungarian delights

Words by
Charlotte McManus

19th August 2021

An excellent addition to the north London district of Haringey, this independent restaurant reimagines traditional European cuisine with modern flair

While London hospitality continues to recover from the lingering effects of lockdown, one of the few silver linings left in the pandemic's wake is the renewed appreciation for neighbourhood, or 'destination', restaurants. With many people still working from home rather than heading into the West End or City, the door is open for independent new ventures to stake their claim in more residential districts. 

Accordingly, a handful of intriguing propositions have recently opened across the capital - one such being Turul Project in Haringey, north London. Located next to Turnpike Lane tube, it's the first permanent outpost for what started out as a pop-up and series of supper clubs. The menu champions Hungarian fare - but forget traditional stews or soups, this is Hungarian done with serious panache. 

The space offers a blend of Art Deco design with a relaxed stylishness, all wooden furniture and suspended lightbulbs. In addition to the restaurant itself, visitors can peruse what's on offer at the deli and wine bar, meaning the trip up the far reaches of the Piccadilly Line will almost certainly have been worth it. 

After admitting our shameful lack of knowledge about Hungarian wine - which the friendly young staff take totally in their stride - we start off with something sparkling, sharing a glass of Tokaj Nobilis Furmint and one of the sweeter Kreinbacher Rose Brut. The wine list is entirely Hungarian, with a solid number available by the glass for those who want to try an assortment. 

My starter of fermented cucumber velouté with smoked trout, dill cream and caviar is fresh and tangy - the ideal summer dish - although I have to admit that my partner's quinnell of goose liver - served with warm brioche, apple and a rich red cabbage reduction, is one of the best things on the menu. We both opt for meaty mains, him with a tender beef cheek cooked in a red wine jus with clove and lovage, and me with saddle and confit of hare with carrot and a bread dumpling. Everything is beautifully served and full of flavour, updating traditional Hungarian flavours with dainty presentation.

Between the choice of puds, the elegant finger of "Lúdláb" chocolate torte works perfectly with its accompaniment of brandied cherries and sour cherry sorbet, although it's the walnut dumpling that proves the surprise winner. Unapologetically dense and spongy with a generous slathering of custard and ice cream, this is childhood on a plate. What's not to like?