A humble, family-run bakery turning out Hungarian sweets you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Adelaide.
If you’re on the hunt for something to satisfy your sweet tooth in-between sips of your morning coffee, competition is stiff in the Central Market. Equally deserving pastries, biscuits and cakes lurk around every corner. But if you cross into Central Market Arcade, there’s a humble, family-run bakery doing things a little differently.
“Hungary is known throughout Europe for its food – it’s in our veins,” says Csaba Egri, who owns Bodri’s Hungarian Artisan Bakery & Cafe with his wife Monika. “But Adelaide didn’t really have any of it when we came here.”
Csaba and Monika were living in Budapest and working in corporate Information Technology (IT) jobs when they decided to move to Adelaide nine years ago. It was fuelled by the rule of the Socialist Party, which was slowly destroying the country’s economy.
IT is a hard industry to crack in Adelaide, Csaba says. “When we came here we wanted to do something different.”
When asked where else in Adelaide you can find a true representation of Hungarian cuisine, Csaba can only think of sporadic dinners at the Hungarian Club.
Bodri’s got its start as a food truck in 2012, on the front foot of the movement. The couple started small, mainly baking the quintessentially Hungarian “chimney cake” that anyone who’s travelled to Budapest will recognise. Csaba recalls trading alongside other trailblazers of the food-truck era such as Burger Theory and La Cantina.
Three years ago, a space in Central Market Arcade that had been empty for years became available through Renew Adelaide. The three-month, rent-free trial period attached to the initiative was the perfect way for Csaba and Monika to test out their unique concept in a bricks-and-mortar context. “That’s the best way to support small businesses – to give them a chance,” Csaba says.
The Central Market is often hailedas a mecca for business, but Csaba says the arcade he’s in doesn’t have a lot of foot traffic. It pays to have a spread of unique Hungarian products, many of which you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
When The Adelaide Review visits, the display – as usual – is chock-full of Hungarian pastries, biscuits and cakes. Some we don’t recognise; others we’re very familiar with. Bodri’s makes one of the best cinnamon scrolls in town and it’s unsurprising when Csaba says it’s a sell-out almost every day. The same can be said of the sweet ricotta pockets.
Bejgli, a walnut- or poppy seedfilled cake, is known as a Hungarian Christmas staple. “But it’s so popular we bake it every week,” says Csaba. “Most European people in Adelaide miss it. There are many Polish, Austrian and German customers who have something very similar in their own countries.”
Natural raspberry cordial may seem like a strange product to make in-house. But it’s close to the hearts of Csaba and Monika. “It’s our childhood in a bottle,” Csaba says, recalling a time in Hungary when his grandmother would make it. “It was one of the only positive things in the Communist era.”
Bodri’s uses traditional Hungarian recipes. A few were passed down from their families, but many are a result of a lot of research and trial and error.
It’s common for a bakery to hit the ground running in the wee hours of the morning to get everything made as close to daybreak as possible. But at Bodri’s, Csaba says, “We get here at 7am and bake freshly on-site, in small batches, continuously throughout the day.
“All the pastries you buy here will usually only be two or three hours old,” he says. Because of this system, you’re able to pre-order in advance – even if it’s just to secure a single pastry.