Bundobust, Leeds – Restaurant Review
by Kerryn Duckworth
The brainchild between Bradford’s beer bar The Sparrow and award-winning Indian vegetarian restaurant Prashad; Bundobust opened its doors in July 2014. Since that time Bundobust has gone from strength to strength. Not only is the original Leeds site on Mill Hill near the station a go-to haunt for the finest vegetarian Indian street food cuisine, they have now opened a branch in Manchester, as well as fine tuning and developing the original menu, which tonight I’m heading to the original Leeds venue to sample.
It’s a cold Thursday night after work, the city is bustling and full of hurried workers fighting through the crowds to get home. I march my way through and find Mill Hill. A side street off Boar Lane near the train station. The road isn’t inviting, but what awaits me certainly is.
“Relaxed and vibrant”
Through the door of Bundobust lies a room, full of tables, full of life and all full of the post-work crowd looking for food. Thankfully I’ve got a table waiting for me. With the bar at the back of the canteen, low hung lighting and exposed brick walls; the rest of the place is made up of benches and stools, plastic and cardboard cutlery and plates.
Menus are on the tables and we’re talked through the offerings and with the question ‘how hungry are you?!’ Medium is the answer. Drinks are ordered and beers produced by the nearby Northern Monk and Kirkstall breweries are bought to the table showing the local trends and my friend and I catch up and wait.
Looking around the room it’s evident this place is popular. It’s relaxed, vibrant and dare I say a little ‘hipster’. A mainly younger crowd fill the tables, friends, couples and colleagues fill every inch of the canteen style communal tables with people loitering around waiting to jump as soon as space becomes free.
“Soon becomes a favourite”
Inspired by the traditional street foods of India, I’m eagerly awaiting the food to arrive. It soon does and all dishes are bought together to mix and match and dip into in true sharing style. We have six dishes to try and all look inviting, fresh and ready for me to tuck in and we waste no time in doing so.
The ‘Raghda Pethis’ (£5) is the first of the new menu items. Described as India meets the North of England the potato and mushy peas merge together in the bowl with crunchy noodles and chutney give the dish a good bite.
‘Paneer Kadai’ (£6.50), also a new item, is rich and tomato-y. Soft and chewy paneer cheese is deep fried then soaked in water to take out oil, which makes it more porous. It’s then cooked with the sauce to absorb the spices and juices leaving a more traditional curry style dish. Served with Bhatura, a Lucy deep fried bread; this is apparently a staff favourite – and soon becomes a favourite of mine.
“Street food classic”
Another traditional style dish is the ‘Chole Saag’. (£6.25) A new menu item again it’s full of juicy chickpeas and spinach, a combination my friend adores and she’s in her element. Served with puri on the side to dip and scoop its got a good spice and a warm heat similar to a traditional curry.
Moving on a slight variation of the Indian street food we head towards china with the ‘Gobi Mushroom Machruian’ (£5). Cauliflower and mushroom pakoras are coated with a sticky Indo-Chinese sauce which is sweet and sour with spring onions which bring it to life. It’s a new menu item and as a mushroom lover and my friend a mushroom hater, I get them all to myself!
Another menu item is the ‘Pav Bhaji’ (£6.50). Not your stereotypical onion bhaji; this is cauliflower, potato and peas served with fresh onion and tomato. A street food classic, this thick curry is accompanied by a spiced brioche bun. It’s coated in flavours, including cinnamon, which give it a warmth and make it perfect to dip into the dish.
“Stand out dish”
The final new item I try is ‘Bhel Puri’ (£4.50) and I save the best until last. I’m not generally a lover of a rice dish, however this dish changes that. Crisp samosa pastry, puffed rice and a sweet tamarind chutney make my tastebuds tingle. With pomegranate seeds scattered on top they burst with the pastry bites and the fresh coriander makes this my stand out dish.
We empty each of the bowls but strangely don’t feel too guilty. The feeling after a ‘normal’ curry is gluttony but Bundobust is fresh and light and even feels somewhat healthy! It’s clear to see why the restaurant is winning plaudits. I will definitely return with friends and colleagues at some point soon – and I can assure you it’s definitely worth the wait for the table.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, LS1 5DQ
Food opening times:
Mon – Thu: 12:00 – 21:30
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 22:00
Sun: 12:00 – 20:00
0113 243 1248