COME on now, there’s really no excuse. If you haven’t yet tried Bundobust then you should look shame-facedly at yourself in the mirror, drop everything and head there right away.
You must have been living on some distant planet to have not heard of this amazing place with its dazzling fusion of Indian street food and quality craft beer,which also happens to be at the epicentre of the city’s most happening pub crawl. Within a radius roughly equivalent to the distance you could frisbee a popadom from here are the Head of Steam, the Scarbrough, the Brewery Tap, Friends of Ham and the excellent new Bah’Tap in the old Prince of Wales premises.
Bundobust started life as a collaboration between award-winning Bradford restaurant Prashad and bier cafe The Sparrow. After being a hit at various food and drink pairing events, the two decided to establish a full-time base; a pop-up cafe at Leeds International Beer Festival gave a taste of great things to come.
The concept is so simple, so obvious, that it beggars belief that Bundobust was the first to really cash in on it. Like Spanish tapas, the menus on each table list around 15 dishes, and you can mix and match, with around three choices each being sufficient. Particle board tables, plastic cutlery, paper plates and styrofoam food containers maintain the transient street food feel of its origins.
Further menus list something like 90 different beers, each of them chosen to sit perfectly alongside the spicy food. Keg choices like Camden Pale, Saltaire Gold and Schneider Weisse are supported by long lists of beers in can and bottle. The house beer, the cutely-named Bombay Dazzler, is brewed a mile or so away at Holbeck’s wonderful Northern Monk, with coriander, ginger and cardamom thrown into the mash.
“We took the nation’s favourite drink and the nation’s favourite food and put them together in a unique way,” says owner Mark Husak. “There is no better drink than beer to go with our food.”
Bundobust’s success has this week garnered national recognition, as the Society of Independent Brewers, SIBA, named it the UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant.
Mark reckons that the trend set by Bundobust is now spreading across the trade, as more restaurants discover the benefits that a good beer list can bring to their business: “Until recently the standard of beer in restaurants was pretty poor,” he says. “Even in high end places where the wine lists were amazing, beer was always a second thought and mainstream brews were the only ones on offer.
“Thankfully this is changing and forward-thinking restaurants are starting to have cracking beer lists. What could be better than a Belgian Witbier with fish and chips, an IPA with a curry, or a Barley Wine with a cheese board?”
Independent research for SIBA has shown that one in three people would visit restaurants more often if they served a range of quality British beer. The organisation says that despite the growth in craft-brewed beer, the majority of restaurants are not meeting the consumer demand.
SIBA Operations Director Nick Stafford said: “Craft-brewed beer is growing in popularity across the UK. Restaurants which have recognised this and have started to serve a range of interesting, flavoursome beers have thrived.
“The range of craft-brewed beers now available in the UK means there’s something to suit every cuisine or occasion.
“Unfortunately, most restaurants don’t put in the same effort when it comes to beer as they do when selecting their wine list, something our new research suggests could be seriously damaging their commercial potential.”
Address: Mill Hill, Leeds
Type: Trendsetting beer and curry house
Host: Mark Husak
Opening Hours: Noon-11pm Mon-Thur, noon-midnight Fri-Sat, noon-10pm Sun
Beers: Fabulous selection of beers on draught and in bottle
Wine: Good choice
Food: Changing range of Indian street food served until about two hours before closing every day
Disabled: Straightforward access
Beer Garden: None
Parking: Multi storey and pay and display areas nearby
Telephone: 0113 2431248