Standards are set high when an award-winning Indian restaurant and a former pub of the year collaborate on a new venue, and so is the case at Bundobust, a new craft beer bar come restaurant.
The word bundobust is Urdu in origin and derives from the Persian ‘band-o-bast’ meaning ‘tying and binding’. After an early evening visit, I certainly hope this is a guarantee that the venue is here to stay.
The name is given over to a beer served on tap - a coriander pilsner - which did not however last the duration of my visit. Like many visitors before me in the two weeks since it opened, I was lured by such an uncommon concept, and with spectacular results. It was light and refreshing with a mild overture of the herb. It tied in appropriately with the concept of the place. Since opening, the bar staff have served 23 kegs of the pilsner and the barrel ran out while I was there.
The two establishments combining their creative powers to come up with Bundobust are the Leeds vegetarian Indian eatery Prashad and Bradford real ale mecca The Sparrow.
As hoped, this was a place for delicious spicy food and a satisfyingly large selection of ale. Cocktails and bottled ciders, etc were also available.
Billed as an ‘Indian street food’ experience, I was unsure what to expect from the menu’s depth. The answer was a dozen ‘munch’ dishes to choose from. Prices ranged from £2.50 to £6. True to the Prashad blueprint, all of the food choices were vegetarian and/or gluten-free.
The staff explained that four or five dishes were adequate for two people to share for dinner. We chose four: subtly flavoured green chilli and garlic popcorn and popadom chippings; a spicy, cold dish consisting of crunchy samosa pastry, puffed rice, turmeric noodles, red onion, tomato and tamarind chutney; a warm dish of three onion bhajis made with cauliflower and spinach; and a hot, sweet lentil soup served with steamed, white rice dumplings and a dash of coconut chutney.
Each was served within ten minutes of ordering in palm sized polystyrene containers. Wooden spoons are provided to tuck in with: simple presentation that let the flavoursome food do the talking. The distinctive and delicate tastes of each portion shone through and the was the perfect accompaniment for a pint of beer.
The venue’s interior was simple, quirky and light. Sections of wooden doors fill the walls inside the entrance. The decor is mostly in shades of yellow and white, with wood chip benches and tables - found both inside and on a decking area outdoors.
I liked the venue’s simplicity and that fact that it offers a different concept to what’s on offer elsewhere. Perhaps go for five dishes instead of four if sharing with a friend to fill you up, as my appetite wasn’t quite sated by four. I didn’t mind paying just over £20 for a beer and four dishes given the innovative offering and tasty portions but if you’re dining for two on a strict budget and expect to feel bursting full afterwards, it might not be for you.