IT has become a habit. Purse strings stretched, this time we’ll just do the set lunch… and then can’t resist piling on the extra dishes. Not that such behaviour is going to bankrupt you at Bundobust.
The Express Lunch is a two dishes for seven quid deal, but none of those tapas-style tubs of Gujarati veggie goodness are going to break the bank. The most expensive dishes are just £6 a go. The whole hog (not that there’s any porkies involved in this entirely meat-free menu) is spending the set £66 to be served every item on the menu.
As it happens, the options for the Express Lunch (available 12noon to 4pm Mon-Fri) include many of my Bundo favourites dating back to its early days in Leeds – the likes of Okra Fries, Tarka Dal and Rice and Massala Dosa. Only change the magnificently cool surroundings in their Manchester basement home off Piccadilly Gardens.
Certainly the craft beer element in this groundbreaking tie-in between Marko Husak of Bradford’s Sparrow bar and Mayur Patel from the Drighlington Prashad restaurant dynasty benefits from the extra space.
There are extra keg lines alongside two cask pumps dispensing a rota of Manchester ales – Marble, Blackjack and the like – plus a rather delicious, spicy wheat beer made specially for them by Northern Monk. Note, though, unlike Leeds, you can’t use it as a bar alone; you also have to buy some food to eat at one of the canteenlike tables. After that stay as long as you like.
Which we did, as a swift lunch became a lingering afternoon under the stunning glass skylight that floods the white tiled underground space with light. The distinctive Bundo branded tubs just kept coming, starting with those okra fries (£3.50), kala namak and amchoor coated okra deep-fried to spicy crispness – perfect beer fodder.
To my mind, Massala Dosas (£6) with sambhar (lentil sauce) and fresh coconut chutney don’t benefit from coming in mini-version. No complaints about the the yoghurt-marinated, barbecued Paneer and Mushroom Tikka skewers (£6, below) accompanied by a red pepper ketchup and spinach chutney.
Most of all, I love the signature Vada Pav (£5, below), a spicy, mashed potato ball, coated in besan flour and deep-fried, chutneys and hot chillies adding fiery relish and, as a cooler, Bundo Chaat, that divine cold confection of torn samosa pastry, spuds, onion, turmeric noodles, yoghurt and tamarind chutney (£4.50).
Beer sommelier Alex Parkinson is ensuring a substantial presence for sour beers on the ever-changing list. They match the food remarkably well. Bundobust is such an exciting additio to the city’s food and drink scene.
Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AQ.
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