It’s tricky to step out of the front door right now without at least a small fragment of uncertainty tingeing your imminent trip into the outside world.
Am I getting a funny look for not having my mask tied tightly enough? Did I apply enough antibacterial gel to eradicate a full layer of skin from my hands? Should I be doing more to help? Just a few of the big questions that flash up in my mind as I venture into Leeds City Centre to sample Bundobust’s new collection of treats.
Fortunately, I need not have worried. Stepping out of the blustery October evening and into Bundo’s welcoming, spice-infused glow is a tonic from start to finish, an affirmation of flavour, of kindness and of creativity – qualities with which the Leeds hospitality scene continues to do an incredible job. And let’s be honest, the word incredible doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.
Ordering is seamless, with a QR code on each table, allowing diners to look up the menu and choose dishes and drinks at the touch of a button or two. We order some of the venue’s delicious craft beer and settle in, perusing the collection of options on offer in honour of National Curry Week.
NCW kicked off at the beginning of the month – designed to honour Indian restaurants and their influence on the UK’s tastes. But more than that, it’s about supporting the huge, vibrant network of Indian restaurants across the nation – which it goes without saying, has never been more important than it is right now.
Bundobust has put together a new range of specials to celebrate some traditional ‘Curry House Classics’. You can order them one by one, or go for a classic Bundo combo and order all five – with some bhajis thrown in – for a mere 20 quid. We do this immediately, and sit back to enjoy the pleasant buzz of our City’s best vegetarian export.
It doesn’t disappoint. Onion bhajis are spicy, sweet and just the right side of crumbly, the perfect nibble to go with a plate of miniature Poppadoms and Pickles – bursting with a moreishly tangy kind of heat. The ‘main’ dishes come in the form of Squash Tikka Massala and Saag Aloo, which boast a range of delicate sweetness and arrive packed with fresh, colourful veg. The Tikka – Bundo’s homage to ‘Britain’s National Dish’ is particularly good, with layers of rich tomatoey goodness absorbed by the soft chunks of butternut. To mop it all up, there’s Vegetable Pilau Rice – light, fluffy and flavourful – and a Peshwari Paratha, fried rounds of bread stuffed with coconut, fruit and nuts.
We sit back and marvel (once again) at this restaurant’s unfailing ability to casually create street food excellence with an unbeatable sense of invention and flavours bold enough to make the nation proud. Bundobust’s unique dining experiences come hand in hand with unpretentious food, a stunning range of drinks and a hearty welcome for every guest – and if that’s not what we all need right now, I don’t know what is.
Bundobust’s Curry House Classics are available until the end of October, in-venue only. If you miss it, don’t let that stop you heading down – or hitting them up on Deliveroo – to sample some of their other showstoppers.
Feature photograph by Ben Bentley.