Go back 2 or 3 years and I would categorically tell you that Indian food is possibly my least favourite cuisine. I could not handle spice, not even mild spice and I found the sweet dishes far too heavy for my stomach however, after my first trip to Asia, this completely changed. I found I not only enjoyed spicy food, but I would choose it above my usual favourites. What had happened to me?
It was like my taste buds had finally awoken to the delights of Asian cuisine. I had a love of curries from a Thai Green to a Malaysian Rendang, I couldn’t get enough of them. It has even got to the point that I would choose an Indian take away over a Chinese, which never happened before.
Roll forward to present day and an invite pops up into my inbox for a preview night at the new Bundobust in Manchester, I was overcome with excitement when I realised they offered Indian street food. Yum.
The day soon came around and with my boyfriend in tow (he didn’t take much persuading!) we ventured over to Bundobust after a hard day’s work to see what it was all about.
It took us a while to locate it, the address when entered into Google maps took me to Piccadilly Gardens, so after a couple of loops and no sign, we were a bit confused. After a bit more searching, we finally stumbled across its very inconspicuous entrance. You could very easily walk past this place as it doesn’t look like anything at all from the outside. However, once you descend the steps and walk through the double doors, that impression quickly changes.
The restaurant itself is really quite spacious, light and airy, considering (I think) it’s technically underground. There is a large skylight though that looks up at the buildings above. The décor is minimal but colourful and there is a social element to the seating that I quite like, although you can opt for one of the many booths if you want something a bit more private.
The bar was a highlight for many, with the extensive beer offerings available. There were numerous cask, bottle and keg options available and something for everyone’s tastes, even mine, and I am not really a beer drinker!
We ended up settling into a booth after choosing our first beers and perused the menu choices. The restaurant does not serve any meat dishes, which I know may put some people off, but don’t let it as you will be missing out!
We were actually spoilt for choice and in the end settled on four dishes to try, though we could easily have ordered them all. There wasn’t a single dish I didn’t like the sound of, which is pretty damn good. Normally there are a few things on a menu I do not like the sound of.
After ordering at the bar, I settled back into the booth and admired the art work on the walls, took a few pictures (a bloggers work is never done) and sipped my beer. Side note here, I love their beer mats!
Soon the food arrived and I could not wait to tuck in. We went for the Okra Fries, Bundo Chaat, Paneer and Mushroom Tikka and Chole Bhatura and they were all delicious! I enjoyed every mouthful.
The Okra Fries I was sceptical about to start with, I wasn’t 100% sure what Okra was, but as they had t shirts with ‘Okra Fries’ on them, I felt like they must be something special, so I opted to give them a go. I am so glad that I did as they were delicious. They were slices of Okra, fried in chickpea batter with a mango powder and black pepper salt. They were like nothing I had tasted before and as I write this, I wish I had a bowl of them to munch on now!
The Bundo Chaat is a firm favourite of mine and I was so pleased to see it on the menu here. It was my favourite dish by miles and I wanted more when it was finished. It is a dish made of chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney, onion, yoghurt and samosa pastry. It is served cold but that doesn’t matter one bit. It just tastes too damn good.
The Paneer and Mushroom Tikka was served as two kebabs with the most delicious spinach chutney that I could not get enough of. Who would have thought that spinach chutney would be something that would taste so good?!
Lastly, we had the Chole Bhatura which was spicy! It was a chickpea and tomato curry type dish served with some delicious flat breads. This had quite a kick but was complemented well by the milder dishes we had also opted for.
Overall the meal was incredible and both Chris and I were beaming at the end having enjoyed a delicious and satisfying feast. We are already planning our next trip back and I cannot wait to get my hands on some more Okra Fries and Bundo Chaat. I definitely recommend a trip here if you are in Manchester and looking for some delicious, cheap food! Now someone pass me a festive Mango Lassi please…