Review: Veggie Goodness at Bundobust

Can you believe the last time I posted about food; glorious restaurant food was in April? That means a lengthy four months ago was the last time I documented what edible things I was putting in my mouth.  It seems I have had some time off extenuating my waistline… E Scott, who have you become?

Today I am chaat-ing (get it, get it) all things vegetarian with Bundobust.  If you know it then you LOVE it, if you don’t love it then you don’t know it well enough. The restaurant – which has made lists such as the ‘Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants’, ‘Best Casual Indian Restaurants in the UK’ and the ’20 burgers you need to eat before you die’ – literally sits in a basement on Piccadilly around the corner from the infamous Northern Quarter.  If you haven’t waltzed down the basement steps and plonked yourselves at one of the long tables then what have you been doing, Manchester?

Blink and you might miss it on the street, but Bundobust is a well-known secret we would all like to keep to ourselves.

You’re met by bright and bubbly hosts who explain that you can sit anywhere and then just order at the bar.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right?  Hell no, have you seen how many delicious treats are listed on the extensive menu.  Indian food isn’t exactly my forte (I don’t know what the difference between a korma and a bhuna is) so luckily, Bundobust has melons like me covered with simplified combinations of fantastic dishes.  Whether you are eating out with two or six people, Bundobust has an array of handpicked delights tailored for your party size.

Opting for the ‘Combo for 2’, we received a mountain of food in polystyrene pots and plates.  Good for the environment and even better for your stomach – for a measly £25 (do the math, which is only £12.50 each!) we received:

Bundo chaat. A veggie samosa bubbling with chickpeas, potatoes, yoghurt and intensely-flavoured turmeric noodles.  These had a melt-in-the-mouth texture which left your tastebuds reeling for more, more, more!

Onion Gobi Bhaji Bhaji.  Bundobust’s personal spin on the ever-loved, traditional onion bhaji.  A moreish blend of crispy onion, cauliflower and spinach complemented and served with light and rich red pepper chutney. I wish there had been more of these to go around.

Paneer & Mushroom Tikka.  Stupidly, I didn’t even realise that meat didn’t exist in the world of Bundobust until I sampled the paneer. Paneer, if you aren’t clued up, is cheese, and not just any cheese, but the best god damn cheese in the whole entire god damn world.  It is thick, filling and seriously fuels that escaping smile.

The dish itself is made up of paneer (have we mentioned we love paneer?), mushrooms and peppers which have been barbecued after being laced with yoghurt curd and Bundobust’s own tikka masala.  Skewers made with serious love and attention to detail. If you try anything off the menu, make sure it is these bad-boys.

Tarka Dhal. Dhal is essentially just a super-hot dish made with either pulses or lentils.  Keeping it classic, the Tarka Dhal is a curry jam-packed with a selection of lentils served with fresh basmati rice.  Clean and refreshing, a dish for both the adventurous foodie and the reserved eater, you just cannot put a foot wrong with the Tarka Dhal.

Massala Dosa.  The website states that the Massala Dosa is a “mini rice crepe filled with a potato and onion dry fry.  Served with lentil soup and coconut chutney”.  Of all of the dishes that were delivered in the combo, this is the singular which I was unsure about.  The crepes were stunning – almost like spring rolls but without that oily pastry sticking to the inside of your teeth. However, the soup just wasn’t my cup of tea.  It was a lil’ bit hard to share (have you ever tried sharing soup with somebody like me?  Me, who loves soup?  That ain’t happening) and didn’t really go with the rest of the food on the combo.  Maybe if I had treated it like a starter I would have enjoyed it more… I had definitely filled myself up on paneer by this point.

The combo for two left zilch room for my bursting food baby to indulge in a sweet treat of Kulfi Ice (the Indian version of an ice-cream cone) but there is always a space for beer or seven… That’s how the saying goes, right?

An almost-faultless meal at Bundobust left me staggering home with fullness to fresh bed sheets, a cup of tea and a nap.  Am I twenty years old, or am I ninety-five?  Who knows, but what I do know is that I have been craving a Bundobust ever since the first taste smacked my lips.  Manchester, if you have not guzzled Bombay Dazzler or gazed up at the sky-roof of Bundobust then seriously, you are missing the veggie big time.

Ella Scott

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