“If there was a comet heading towards earth and I had to select five things to save from the human civilisation to go on the rocket it would be my family, Bruce Springsteen, Snoop Dogg, a decent road bike and Bundobust...”
This is how the legend that started as a pop-up Indian street food stall was described by a friend of City Buzz.
This weekend, Bundobust, celebrates its third birthday and the founders told City Buzz that it is only now that they feel they can believe in their own success.
Co-founder Marko Husak told City Buzz: “We have been doing it for three years this weekend and it is only over the last couple of months we have realised we are pretty good at what we do and when we hear comments like that, we know we have something really nice.”
And that isn’t the only recognition for the restaurant that has also served to help transform one of the less popular areas of Leeds.
The Vada Pav has somewhat unintentionally become the restaurant’s signature dish after finding its way into a list of the top 20 burgers in the world as voted for by Men’s Health magazine. It is also the first choice for regular customer, Michelin-starred chef Michael O’Hare.
And for the first time Bundobust shares the story behind the simple dish.
Mr Husak said: “We didn’t think it would be a success because essentially it is mashed potatoes and chutney, very simple but one of those things that people love.
“It was invented in Mumbai in 1966 by a street food trader and is popular there but we get some customers from India that have never heard of it.”
The menu in front of you at Bundobust is food as you would find sold on the streets in various parts of India and this was brought to Leeds at just the right time given the city’s hunger for quick street-style food from all over the world.
A one night only beer and curry collaboration between Mr Husak’s Bradford’s craft beer bar The Sparrow and Indian restaurant Prashad, which had been established for 30 years, was a success and from that Bundobust was born.
It did pop-ups around the city for a year before taking the site at Mill Hill because of its cheap rent.
“Indian street food and craft beer had not really been done before but people went for it. It was just at the right time.
“Beer has always been big in Leeds with North Brew but what we were doing, no-one else really had but people really took to it”, he added.
They took to it so much that Bundobust Leeds is thriving and a second restaurant has now opened in Manchester. More are set to follow and in time the founders of the pop-up plan to have a small restaurant chain.
However, Bundobust is adamant it will retain its integrity and will always be grateful to the Leeds independent food scene for the part it has played in its success.
Mr Husak added: “There was always a doubt about opening, we didn’t know how it would go but it went well.
“We get offers of investment and from landlords in other cities but we are careful and moving at our own pace.
“Leeds is the best city in the north of England and outside London. They don’t have the community between independents – we are friends with a lot of places in Leeds, it is a nice place to be.”