Bundobust is OPEN! I know, it officially opened on the 11th July, but I’ve waited to say it for so long, so I’m gonna. It finally happened, with hoards of Leeds folk waiting for this moment for ages, from the looks of it on social media they were RAVENOUS!
Oh….are there some of you unaware of Bundobust? Well, I like to think of Bundobust as a meeting of minds from Prashad – locally and nationally renowned Gujarati restaurant originally from Bradford, now based in Drighlington, and The Sparrow – well known watering hole in Bradford. Serving up Indian vegetarian street food with style and drinks to match.
The team who came up with this gem are Mayur Patel (Prashad) and Mark Husak (The Sparrow), who’ve teased us with their pop-ups at different venues and events. So much so that when they planted the seed of a permanent venture in Leeds city centre, I’m certain a cry of joy could be heard across Leeds, that’s what I like to imagine happened anyway!
Following a couple of preview evenings a continuous stream of teasers on social media quickly ensued, and with early reviews praising both food and venue to the hilt, things looked promising and my expectations were high. By the time of the official opening, word had spread like wildfire demonstrated by a street-long queue waiting to get in!!
The place is very laid back – walking through the entrance you’re soon surrounded by a jigsaw puzzle of recycled doors, cushions made from sacks once containing rice and dhal, chip board, naked brick walls and also comes with a dose of quirky minimalism combined with a slice of charm.
The place is a bit tardis-like, as from the street I didn’t expect the amount of square footage it actually has, and comes with an inspired inside/outside space.
The location could possibly be a stroke of genius; in the centre of town, but far enough from the hustle and bustle of Boar Lane. Maybe like the Northern Quarter, Bundobust’s presence, along with nearby neighbours Friends of Ham and Laynes Espresso will spark the resurgence of this end of town too!
One thing I immediately noticed walking up to the bar is the signage, I LOVE it!!! This place sets its stall out immediately, with the phrase ‘no beef’ predominately positioned at the bar.
They seem to have struck a harmonious chord, with the philosophy of combining craft beers and Indian street food at the heart of Bundobust. Not far off a match made in heaven, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t drink a lot of the stuff!! With this in mind they have a grand selection of handpicked beverages, chosen to pair well with Indian food such as IPA’s and Pilsners. Also great news for those with a gluten intolerance (other half included) Bundobust stock Mongozo, this means they don’t need to miss out either.
Being the innovators that they are the team like to experiment, on the bar was a piece of apparatus I hadn’t seen before. Marko informed me it was a Hop Randall which infuses other flavours into beer, such as pineapple and apricot. Even though I’m not the greatest beer or ale drinker by any stretch of the imagination, I may have to sample this at some point!
For those without a penchant for ale, their wine and cocktail list may tempt you, including the Bhang Lassi which I remember fondly from their Belgrave residential. Nestled amongst the choice of soft drinks is the Indian staple Mango Lassi for non-alcohol drinkers. One thing I was gutted about just because I only spotted it as I was leaving – lovely soothing and warm House Chai, having been introduced to this by a mate, I need to remember to get some next time. A fantastic addition to the drinks menu, these guys really have thought of virtually everything!
So what about the food? The food menu or ‘munch’ as they’ve named it is short and concise, 12 items at present, but it’s also well planned as it consists of items which are ideal depending on how hungry you are, whether it be a few snacks to have with their beers, or something more substantial. Marko suggested one small snack with a drink or two, e.g. the Okra fries, for something to accompany it either a samosa-based dish (Bundo Chaat and Bhel Puri) or Bhaji, and for a more filling dish the Dosa, Pethis or Idli Sambhar.
I’d been preparing myself all day for this three courses it was! First the Okra Fries (their memory still echoes from their guest residential at the Belgrave), the Bhaji and Massala Dosa, and to drink a Mango Lassi. The Lassi was perfect for what had been a reasonably warm day, sweet and thick enough to make it incredibly moreish. The addition of the fennel seed and aniseed just makes it come alive and gives it vibrancy.
Turn over from ordering to table was pretty reasonable; good news for my rumbling belly.
The Okra Fries are a great snack, perfect for dipping into while sipping on of their specially selected beverages. They are exactly as described on the menu – crisp and spiced.
The bhaji were pretty much perfect – accurately spiced, fried perfectly so they arrived crisp. To complement the bhaji was a tangy sauce, which didn’t play second fiddle and definitely came through nicely. Gotta love fried stuff, in moderation of course!
I love a Massala Dosa, I remember my first at Prashad and this is a smaller version of that. With a crisp, wafer thin rice flour and lentil crepes, the perfect vehicle for the curry it accompanies. A well balanced, all rounder of a dish – lightly spiced curry, the potato and onion are evident and haven’t just disintegrated, the lentil soup brings a little oomph and the coconut chutney does what it’s supposed to and cools it down when required.
After all the pop-ups and the hard work, everything has come to fruition and I for one am a HUGE fan. Looking at the response they’ve had it’s obvious I’m one of many!! Bundobust does pose a problem for me though, just the fact that I literally walk up Mill Hill, passed Bundobust every time I come into Leeds may prove lethal, 100% in a good way that is!!
I suppose the saying ‘good things come to those who wait’, would ring true here as the team have delivered big time. If you haven’t been yet, you should go.
The cost of my meal was £15.50.
I’d definitely recommend Bundobust!!!
Food: Great Indian street food, perfect for sharing or for having all too yourself!!
Service: Staff are lovely and friendly, good at helping with menu choices and food waiting times were very reasonable.
Atmosphere: Good atmosphere, the place had a real buzz even when it was just half full (got there before the after work crowd arrived).Bundobust 6 Mill Hill Leeds LS1 5DQ http://www.bundobust.com