Gay Hussar

Restaurants, Hungarian Soho
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Gay Hussar
Venue says Enjoy a free bottle of house wine when you dine between 5.30-7pm Monday - Saturday

Mercifully for its devotees, the modern ‘GH Soho’ sign outside the time-honoured red frontage doesn’t signal a flashy rebranding. Inside, all is as it should be at the Gay Hussar: dark wooden panelling bedecked with political portraits or Martin Rowson caricatures; nicotine-brown ceiling; polite, prompt Hungarian staff; and shelves of political biographies.

Gladstone stared bleakly down at our wooden settle, having perhaps eaten one too many dumplings. Since the restaurant’s 1953 inception, the powerbrokers of the political left have dined here. Despite the odd tourist party, they were still in evidence during our good-value lunch. More than a dozen traditional Hungarian dishes are offered for starters and mains. On a sweltering July afternoon we should have ordered the chilled wild cherry soup, or even the fish terrine with beetroot sauce and cucumber. Nevertheless, bean soup, a hearty, salty, wintery ‘soup of the day’, was lifted by slices of intensely smoky sausage. Intense flavours also characterised a main course of paprika-rich venison goulash, served with splayed out gherkin, tangy red cabbage and couscous-like tarhonya. A glass of Bull’s Blood (just £4.50) made a satisfying match.

For afters? The fruity, jelly-like mixed berry pudding provides needed refreshment; were he still active during the Gay Hussar’s 60-year lifetime, it might even have cheered up Gladstone.


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Gay Hussar says
Experience unique décor and delicious Hungarian cuisine this Christmas at The Gay Hussar in London’s ‘Theatreland’ in Soho, where our warming ambience will leave you feeling truly festive.

But it’s not all just about Christmas. The Gay Hussar has been serving the finest Hungarian cuisine for over 60 years, and its food, hospitality and charm have earned it a spot as one of London’s landmarks. Join us for lunch or dinner, we recommend starting with a Palinka of course, and fantastically priced set menus, or A la carte 6 days a week.

Something of a Soho institution, The Gay Hussar packs a lot of character within its caricature-lined wood-panelled walls. Low lighting and plush furnishing add to the intimacy of the atmosphere, but it's the traditional Hungarian cuisine that really commands attention. Together with its extensive Magyar wine list, it leaves little doubt as to why the restaurant has been a popular haunt for more than 50 years with some of the world's biggest political figures and celebrities alike.

The Gay Hussar is available for private dining & for exclusive hire. We boast two private rooms, known to have held many a secret meeting, both of which can be hired out. We can accommodate parties of up to 120 people and can prepare a range of catering options – silver service to buffet – and can have available to our guests our cellar filled with Hungarian wines and a selection of New and Old World vintages.
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Venue name: Gay Hussar
Address: 2 Greek Street
Opening hours: Lunch served 12.15-2.30pm, dinner served 5.30-10.45pm Mon-Sat
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Road
Price: Main courses £12.75-£17.75. Set lunch £20.50 2 courses, £24.50 3 courses
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:3
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  • 1 star:2
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As a Hungarian, born and raised in Budapest until the age of 18, I never thought I'd ever experience Hungarian food as anything other than basic and simple. In fact, I never really appreciated it when it was a given. Then I moved to London... and everything changed...

The Gay Hussar is Hungarian food glorified. I didn't expect any of the dishes to taste quite like home, but I was wrong. The menu is down-to-earth and sticks to the best of the best, including cold wild cherry soup (ugh, I used to have this for lunch at school) and goulash. But I went for a favourite in Hortobágyi palacsinta (pancake), which is a meat-filled, savoury pancake drowning in meat stew and covered in sour cream. Even the texture of the accompanying rice reminded me of home - this is exactly what it's like. Maybe not the spinach - you could really tell this was basic accompaniment - but presentation and flavour were just perfect.

We also sampled the Hungarian charcuterie selection, which reminds me of nothing more than raiding the fridge at 3am, getting home from a night out, stuffing my face with salami or spicy sausage. It's so damned good, and so weird seeing it served up on a bed of salad all fancy-like. But in a good way.

The evening was topped off with pancakes, and these were bang on, with delicious, warm apricot jam and sweet cheese - more like quark - something we put on everything basically.

I am shocked to say that service is excellent (not something you often encounter in Hungary), everyone is kind and the waiters are Hungarians too. The decoration reflects my grandparents' living room and even the salt and pepper shakers remind me of a better time. 

The Gay Hussar is a little piece of home, and if it was a little less pricey, I'd probably return quite often. But very affordable and great deals (free bottle of wine if you book for 7pm or earlier and order at least two courses each) - no reason not to go.

Really great, comfort food.  Large portions and a lovely choice of Hungarian wines to go with the meal.  Though don't come here if your looking for light bites.  A good place to catch up with old friends; unpretentious and quiet enough not to have to yell across the table.  Service was generally good, though I think we got a new waiter who was still learning the ropes.


Love this place, it's proper old school Soho. The dining room is filled with history & character from the caricature portraits on the walls to the reassuringly unchanged frontage & decor. The food is homely & comforting- proper wintry fare served by pleasant & efficient staff. Loved the delicious Hungarian sausage starter & my crispy skinned roast duck was perfect washed down with the house red.


This place is a bit of an institution of Soho, and you only need to walk in and look at the walls to see the signed characateurs of the many politicians which have dined in this place to know it has gravitas amongst those in the political public eye. 

The cuisine is Hungarian, and therefore the food is heart, warming and in some cases a little stodgy, though the favours are still decent.

Sadly this restaurant recently gave in to pressures from animal rights activists and removed their foie gras dish from their starters - a travesty as this was their best dish on the entire menu, without a doubt. I hope it will return to the menu soon as it really was a stunning plate of food and was the main appeal of this restaurant for me.

You can expect to see a lot of dumplings on the menu, as well as rich meats. The liver and bacon is a filling, hearty plate of food, though very rich.

The service is very friendly - the owner is a very lovely chap who has some interesting stories to tell. 

Went to Gay Hussar on Saturday night on a deal including 2 courses and a glass of wine. The portions were very sizeable and very tasty (we had the fish dumplings and stuffed cabbage as well as wiener schnitzels and the duck liver which was cooked to perfection); the decor and ambiance were a pleasant surprise and to top it all of the manager and waiting staff were incredibly friendly and humorous even at the height of the restaurant service. Certainly recommended

Went to Gay Hussar on Saturday night on a deal including 2 courses and a glass of wine. The portions were very sizeable and very tasty (we had the fish dumplings and stuffed cabbage as well as wiener schnitzels and the duck liver which was cooked to perfection); the decor and ambiance were a pleasant surprise and to top it all of the manager and waiting staff were incredibly friendly and humorous even at the height of the restaurant service. Certainly recommended


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Classic Central European food in a wonderful environment. Bring some friends. Book a private room and plot a left wing takeover.

I have been going to the Gay Hussar since 1991 almost every other year. My review is simple .... fantastic food, excellent service as well as customer recognition. The manager (he) and staff always greets me as a friend as if I were there weekly. What else do I need from a restaurant!!!!!!!! Oh yes, I have been to Hungary PS will be there this April or May

There’s nothing gay about the Gay Hussar. Eastern European it definitely is. You feel the oppression as soon as you walk through the door. The manager greeting us couldn’t look more miserable if she’d tried harder. Where’s the music? The ambiance? The happy customers? The hors d’oeuvres to start were incredible in a bad way. How can you get cucumber wrong? No matter, I was sure I was safe with a veal schnitzel for main....WRONG! The schnitzel had more resemblance to an old leather handbag and so incredibly dry I’m sure the waiter must have thought I ordered a side dish of cotton mouth. Seems the people I was eating with felt the same about their Hungarian delights. Most of it went back to the kitchen! Undeterred, we sampled a Hungarian liquor called Unicum to round off the night (none of us felt brave enough to sample the sweet cheese pancakes on the dessert menu). Has anyone ever had a liquor that’s slightly fizzy before? We questioned how long it had been on the shelf and were assured that the restaurant sells oodles of these a week. Really? People really come back for the aftertaste of stomach acid in their mouth? I’m amazed this place is still in business but it seemed to be busy when we left so clearly there’s no accounting for taste. After complaining to the manager, we were grudgingly given 20% off our food but it came with a lot of huffing and puffing. I’ve never felt compelled to write a bad review before but this was just horrendous. My advice? Give this place a wide berth and spend your money on Burger King instead.

First mistake, misunderstanding what ‘traditional Hungarian food’ really means on the online reviews. What we learnt, Hungary is truly shocking at food. Second mistake, staying for longer than 5 minutes after justifying to ourselves it will be an experience and broaden our horizons. What we learnt, not all experiences make your life better. Third mistake, asking the waitress for a recommendation. What we learnt, the waitress has obviously never eaten at her own restaurant. Fourth mistake, ordering Hungarian wine. What we learnt, Hungarian wine perfectly compliments Hungarian food. Final mistake, after not being able to finish the starter or main course opting for Unicum as a liqueur. What we learnt, its actually worse than it sounds and it was worryingly fizzy, however it’s easily the best thing we ordered! In summary, would I go back? No. Would I recommend it to anyone even if they were from Hungary and hadn’t eaten in 3 days? No. Do I understand why Mo Mowlems autobiography was used as decor and she stared at me for the whole meal? No. Have I ever felt the need to write a review before? No. Am I confident said Unicum was less than 10 years old? No. Will I remember the lessons learnt from this experience? Yes.