To say someone is “a character” is a description which could be either a compliment or an insult.
Likewise the description “has character” could go either way.
Having read numerous reviews of The Gay Hussar which chose to use such a phrase I didn’t know quite what to expect when I arrived at the Greek Street institution on a rainy Friday evening.
Well, The Gay Hussar really does have character, or should I say caricatures. The drawings of political figures line the walls of this soho establishment, and the crammed bookshelf seems to have been put there to scream “just so you know, this is not a gay bar!” . (That’s not to say The Gay Hussar doesn’t have it’s fair share of sausage).
What’s given The Gay Hussar it’s reputation is clearly it’s clientele.
Hugarian food is not trendy, it’s not an American diner pop up, nor does it offer any kind if novelty, fancifully presented dishes. There are no 5:2 friendly options, no little (gf) notes on the menu, even a vegetarian in the group struggles with the meat heavy menu. Hugarian food is filling, hearty meals, had with wine. Not cocktails. This is the kind of food that encourages lingering conversations (due to the inability to move for some time after consuming say, a veal goulash pancake with potatoes and spinach). Hungarian food is not fashionable, and I doubt it ever will be. It’s this unfashionable tag that makes The Gay Hussar what it is. How ridiculous that fashion dictates spending a small fortune on fashionable hot dogs, or paying for portions so tiny you feel the need to grab a second dinner on the way home. Sometimes sitting in a warm cosy restaurant eating carbs in a sea of cream sauce is just what the doctor ordered – as a medicine to cure hipster-itis.