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At Hungry Tummy

January 24, 2022
by the gentle author

Zoltan & Ferenc at Hungry Tummy

When the temperature plummets and the arctic blast roars up Commercial St, make hasty steps to Hungry Tummy in Wentworth St where you can enjoy a pot of steaming goulash as a remedy against the chill for less than five pounds.

On this particular day I had no breakfast, so I was more than delighted to rendezvous with Contributing Photographer Lucinda Douglas Menzies at this cosy kitchen to savour their freshly-cooked hot delights from Hungary.

We found proprietors Zoltan Pasztor & Ferenc Igor Kozula hard at work preparing all the dishes for lunch, so I settled down with a large enamel dish brimming with goulash while Lucinda took photographs.

I was gratified to discover that the meat and vegetables were not overcooked, retaining their texture in a goulash sauce that was pleasantly spicy without overwhelming the flavours of the ingredients. This would have been an adequate lunch in itself, but I followed it with Langos, a kind of fried pancake laden with deliciously sharp sour cream and tangy grated cheese. Next came walnut dumplings in vanilla sauce, a tasty European relative of our English sponge pudding with custard.

Finally, Ferenc demonstrated his expertise in bakery by rolling up Körtőskalács or ‘chimney cake’ onto a wooden pole and baking it on a rotating grill before my eyes. Once it slid off the pole, the cylindrical cake stood unaided with steam rising from the top of the chimney. This is Ferenc’s tour-de-force. Crispy on the outside and soft and feathery on the inside, it has an aromatic, perfumed quality that hints at origins further east than Hungary.

By now, I realised that the tempting array of freshly-baked strudels, biscuits, cakes and patisserie would have to wait for another day, but I was more than happy to sit quietly and enjoy a cup of Rooibosh tea while Zoltan explained to me how it all came about.

‘We have always loved cooking. We both learnt to cook a home, taught by our families, our mothers and grandmothers. In Hungary, most people can cook and everyone eats at home because they cannot afford to eat out every day.

We met fifteen years ago in Budapest. In those days we were both working in shops, like Aldi, we had no opportunity to cook. After that we worked in bakeries and we realised we had the possibility to do something for ourselves. I specialise in meat dishes and Ferenc is a baker. We grew up in Hungary, so we know how to make all the traditional recipes properly.

I have lived in London for almost three years now and Ferenc for two. At the time of the first lockdown, I went back to Hungary but then we came back together. We believed we could open a place here in Wentworth St because the neighbourhood has nothing like it, Hungarian or Eastern European.

We rented a flat above and it was luck to find these premises on our doorstep. We opened on the 14th December and, although the street is empty because hardly anyone is going in to work, our business is growing. Most of our customers return to try something different after their first visit.

If you love to do something, it is not hard work and it is a lot better than working in a shop.’

Zoltan & Ferenc have already drawn an enthusiastic local following for their keenly-priced authentic dishes, all honestly prepared every day. As chefs and co-owners, living up over the shop and putting heart and soul into their first restaurant, they deserve to succeed. So please walk over to Wentworth St to savour their heartening cuisine which is guaranteed to lift your spirits in these frosty days.

Zoltan & Ferenc at work

Zoltan ladles out the goulash

Freshly-made goulash, the antidote to chills

Langos, crispy pancake with sour cream, garlic and cheese

Hot walnut dumplings with vanilla sauce

Ferenc makes a chimney cake

Zoltan serves the chimney cake, still steaming

Photographs copyright © Lucinda Douglas Menzies

HUNGRY TUMMY, 24a Wentworth St, London, E1 7TF

18 Responses leave one →
  1. Marnie Sweet permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Best of luck, Zoltan and Ferenc! The restaurant’s premises are cozy and inviting and the food looks


    I savored every bite GA took–especially the steaming goulash and the walnut goodie.

  2. Chips permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Hungary Tummy …?

  3. January 24, 2022

    I’m just sitting at breakfast and see this delicious lunch from Hungary. I already know LANGOS from the local Christmas market. But together with the other delicacies, my mouth is watering….

    I didn’t know the name “EATERY” before — this is so awesome.

    Love & Peace

  4. Marcia Howard permalink
    January 24, 2022

    What a wonderful asset to the Community, and so pleased to read of these two hard working men. Also in keeping up the spirit and long history of the area, in welcoming those from other countries. At first I wasn’t sure about the name of their restaurant, but having seen the picture of its delightful looking facade, I say “may long it thrive”

  5. Laura Williamson permalink
    January 24, 2022

    It all looks wonderful and they are very talented. May I wish Zoltan and Ferenc much luck with their venture.

  6. Wendy permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Thank you Gentle Author. I am so excited to read about this place as, when I eventually get back to London, it is within walking distance of my home. I was first introduced to chimney cake from a market stall in Vauxhall – it is wonderful watching the chimney being made and even more wonderful to eat – steaming hot straight off the machine. Looking forward to visiting in a few months.

  7. keithb permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Wishing these guys well. Catering is hard work, but at least they have the commute down to under a minute! There are some ‘live-work’ purpose built units with flats above and workshop space below appearing in Birmingham’s outer ring now and it is nice to see.

    Once Zoltan and Ferenc become established with a regular clientele one hopes they might explore a vegetarian version of some of the most popular dishes. There is a langos van (street food) in Walsall’s high street sometimes.

  8. Cherub permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Wow, as a lover of hearty food on cold days this looks great. I had goulash soup in Vienna one cold November day and it was delicious. If I ever get back to London I’ll be giving this a try.

  9. pauline taylor permalink
    January 24, 2022

    I wish this eatery and its hard working owners every success, every dish looks delicious and if I lived close by I would love to try them. Super photographs and I hope Lucinda got to try some of the delights on offer as well?

  10. January 24, 2022

    I’m really thrilled for these two gents, their enterprise, and ‘living over the shop’.

    It’s so very heartening to read about outsiders again making their way in the new world, esp in covidtime.

    The Gentle Author also thrills, as without him, the Zoltan and Ferenc story mightn’t be told, def not as eloquently.

    When we had our first workshop (in Brune Street, very affordable, this was in the grim 80s) we saw so many ‘living over the shop’ businesses briefly thrive, but then disappear and then the ‘disappearing’ accelerated.

    In the 2020s, our studio marches on – happily back to its roots and living over the shop – tho now in wholesome holland.

  11. Laurie of petticoat lane permalink
    January 24, 2022

    I was introduced to the hungry tummy by a friend terry on visiting this eaterie of many culonrie of food delights wow top place im now a regular
    Good luck keep going u deserve it

  12. Flora permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Oh my, this is a DREAM, I’m far from London confined to my bed & cold & there is nothing I would like more this instant than goulash & other magical comforts.
    These are gentlemen after my own heart & I hope their business will flourish as it deserves.
    I’m intrigued by their lanyards 🙂
    I can almost smell the rich & fragrant warmth of their beautiful food!

  13. January 24, 2022

    Oh, it looks so good!!

    I wish Zoltan and Ferenc great success, and when I am next in London I will make it a priority to seek out Hungry Tummy!

  14. Helen Breen permalink
    January 24, 2022

    Greetings from chilly Boston,

    GA, oh how I wish I were in London today to sample Zoltan and Ferene’s delicious specialties, the goulash in particular. Their recipes sound so authentic. I loved the food in Budapest during short visit there many years ago.

    May their business thrive.

  15. Rhonda Alperin permalink
    January 24, 2022

    I’m Hungarian descent & HOW I WISH I COULD EAT THERE TODAY!!! But I live in the U.S.A.
    All best wishes for much, much success!

  16. Gail FARROW permalink
    January 24, 2022

    That all looks amazing! Must make a visit

  17. Tony Anderson permalink
    January 24, 2022

    How heartwarming!! Good on you, guys. A visit next time I’m in London is a must. When will we be able to travel from Australia more freely? So much on my list of ‘to-do’s.” Congratulations and good wishes.

  18. January 27, 2022

    Thank you very much for the many, many good wishes, we hope to meet you in the future and you can try some of our food. We promise we will do our best to bring quality and care to the food we offer you both now and in the future.

    Zoltan & Ferenc

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