Bundobust, Leeds: Vegan Indian street food and ale
Curry and beer are two of my favourite things, so you can imagine my excitement when I started to hear favourable reviews of a newish craft beer and vegetarian Indian street food bar in Leeds city centre.
Bundobust opened last July on Mill Hill, near the train station, and is a collaboration between two successful ventures – the Indian vegetarian restaurant Prashad, and the craft beer bar The Sparrow, both based in Bradford. Bundobust brings together Prashad’s great veggie grub and The Sparrow’s fine brews, and I was very keen to finally sample some for myself.
Walking into the place at 6.30 pm on a Friday night I was immediately struck by how busy Bundobust was – the bar was absolutely packed and it was a struggle to find a seat. Bundobust has two main seating areas, the indoor bar and an extended, covered ‘outdoor’ area, fitted with heat lamps and accessed through a door halfway along the left side of the main bar.
I was impressed by how stylish the bar is, with exposed brick walls and funky fittings and furnishings (serviettes and cutlery are housed in a cabinet made from a reclaimed front door), and rows of benches and dining tables making for a convivial drinking and dining experience.
Heading to the bar and checking out the drinks and food menus, I was happy to see vegan labelling for the bottled beers and all of the food items. Every vegan dish is marked with a ‘V’ and a note reassures vegan drinkers that all bottled beers are free of animal products.
The drinks menu though does not list which of Bundobust’s keg beers are vegan-friendly, and it would be great if the bar could provide this information. I knew before visiting that Camden Pale Ale, a 4% American-style ale, is vegan, and I wasn’t disappointed by this tasty brew.
After a few swigs it was time to order some food. Bundobust points out on its website that it isn’t a restaurant but a bar that sells Indian street food, and from this description and the prices (most items are three to four quid) we weren’t anticipating huge portions and so ordered several dishes. I was happy to see that half of all the food on offer at Bundobust is vegan (which as mentioned earlier is all clearly labelled on the menu), the rest being vegetarian with both vegan and veggie dishes having gluten free options amongst them.
We ordered four items: okra fries, veg rice dry fry, onion gobi bhaji bhaji, and bhel puri; all of which arrived pretty quickly and were served in round cardboard containers. The food was nicely presented and, peckish after two thirds of a pint, I couldn’t wait to sample it.
I particularly enjoyed the onion bhajis. You get three bhajis per portion and they are made from onion, cauliflower and spinach and served with a tamarind and red pepper chutney. They were crispy and flavoursome and in a different league to your standard Indian takeaway bhaji.
The okra fries were also delicious. Made from fingers of okra and fried and coated in chickpea batter and seasoned with black salt and mango powder, they are an unusual and very moreish snack.
We were impressed by the quality of the food, which didn’t last long as we wolfed it down. The portions might not satisy your hunger if you’re ravenous, but as a snack or light meal and accompanied by a pint, they certainly hit the spot.
I’d definitely recommend Bundobust. It’s laid-back and quirky and its range of quality ales and tasty Indian snacks make it a nice option for a quick bite to eat at lunchtime or after work. What’s more, plenty of the items on the menu are free of animal products, and it’s great to have another venue in Leeds that makes life easier for vegans.
Bundobust is at 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, LS1 5DQ and the opening times are as follows:
Monday – Thursday 12-11pm (kitchen closes at 9.30pm)
Friday & Saturday 12-Midnight (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Sunday 12-10pm (kitchen closes at 8pm)