They think it’s all okra! It’s cumin home! – Euros at Bundobust

Whether football is indeed coming home, or it’s just footballers coming home on Sunday morning, there’s still time to score with Bundobust’s Euros menu.

Running until 14 July regardless of the fortunes of the England team, Bundobust’s current special menu is the latest round of fusion and experimentation from the Indian street food stalwart.

Bundobust have a Euros fan zone where you can watch England matches – it’s £5 to book a seat but that includes a pint, which means you’ll likely come out in profit. At the time of writing, there are still tickets available for the
match against Switzerland on Saturday. The food is available at any time. I should confess up front that I have little interest in football, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying out the food.

First of the specials is the Vindaloo Pie. Great North Pie Co. has provided the pastry, and it’s a proper pie shell with no messing about – sturdy enough to contain the filling without collapsing but slim enough to not be cloying. The vegetable vindaloo inside has a good amount of potato and punchy spicing, hot but not the ridiculous heat of old jokes about vindaloo. And what has to go on top of a football pie? Peas (even I know that!), in this case a layer of the mushy pea ragdha from the regular menu item ragdha pethis. To finish it off there’s a pot of desi gravy – in fact, much closer to brown sauce than gravy with its sweet tamarind acidity, just what the peas need to add zing. The pie can be upgraded to The Fat Les, meaning it is stuffed into a pav bread bun (in tribute to the Wigan Kebab) with added green and red pav chutneys.

Vindaloo Pie and Gobi Wingers

Mogo Paneka Chip is a serving of mogo (aka cassava) chips liberally doused in desi ketchup, a maple-chilli sauce that has a nice kick of heat and subtler sweet and sour than its tomato namesake. Mogo is denser and drier than potatoes, meaning the chips’ interiors were less fluffy – regular ketchup would have been overpowering in the quantities needed to counteract this, but the Bundobust take is pitched right to balance the vegetable. (My thanks to Wikipedia for helping me understand the name of this dish! Sorry, football fans.

Mogo Paneka Chip, Bundog and Shynee

The Bundog is, as the name suggest, a Bundo-hotdog. The dog is a soy-mushroom mix, with a slightly dry and mealy texture not a million miles from a falafel. The sausage is served in a brioche bun with a liberal topping of curry mustard backed up by chilli ketchup, crispy onions and ‘Thums Up caramelised onions’ (with thanks again to Wikipedia, I know that Thums Up is an Indian cola). It’s good, and if you want something you can hold in one hand while jumping around in delight at a goal, this is the dish to go for, but for my preference it was a little dry. My pint of Shynee, a refreshing and tasty lightly hoppy lager brewed especially for this menu, was a good pairing here.

And finally, the Gobi Wingers, whose punning name even I got. Five large florets of cauliflower, cooked so they retain just the right amount of bite, coated in a paste of green chill, curry leaf, garlic and ginger, all encased in a gloriously crisp breadcrumb shell. These made me want to do one of those footballer’s celebrations, sliding on my knees to an adoring crowd. Lacking both the dexterity and the crowd, I settled for raving over-enthusiastically at the very lovely staff. The accompanying sauce of lemon and gochujang worked well to add extra heat and acidity, though mostly I opted for dipping into the tamarind gravy that had come with the pie and which I would happily have with just about anything, every meal.

Gobi wingers

All of these are available individually, with the option of mixing and matching with the regular menu. Or, there is a combo for two that combines the Bundog, Mogo and Gobi with old favourites Vada Pav, Bhaji and Smacked Khakri (cucumber – a dish that’s a strong contender for my favourite item on Bundobust’s menu, except at the moment while those Gobi Wings are around). It’s £34 for the combo, and you can top up with a Vindaloo Pie for a discounted price. If you are there in a party, or are very thirsty, you can get a three litre beer tower of Shynee, Python (another lager) or Peela (a hazy pale), for £30.

In case the themed food isn’t enough, Bundobust has added a football shirt to their range of merchandise. Designed in collaboration with Acid FC, who also designed the current Leeds United kit, the shirt is a vibrant deep orange with yellow trim, and ‘sponsorship’ from okra. I’m goalkeeper-tall and built more like a football than a footballer, so there isn’t a size for me. The £75 price tag is as bold as the orange colour, but there’s a “they think it’s all okra” t-shirt at £15, too.

Bundobust interior

Main image: Interior of Bundobust. All photography by Thomas Chalk.

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