Some places just do things well.
No fuss, no faff, just good food, good drinks. They become known for it.
Bundobust is just that. Good food, good beer. Does what it says on the tin. Every time I go in, it’s comfortably busy, people either flit in and make it a stop on their way to more beer, or make a bit of a night of it and stay, sampling their way through both the food and drink.
Perhaps what’s was a unique selling point is – their wholly veggie menu – is now as it should be, just part of it. It’s not seen as a ‘thing’, something to be surprised about or even for a confirmed meat eater like me, actually miss. The food is good, tasty and goes well with the beer.
To put it simply (and to use a cliche), it is what it is.
That said, an invitation to try the new menu was not going to be missed. I may not be able to visit as often as I’d like (they won’t actually let me move in), so being able to make a firm date in my diary was wholly welcomed.
The set up is simple. Grab a table, peruse the menu, go to the bar and order food and make a selection from the raft of beers, cocktails, wine and softs on offer. Bundobust might be more known for it’s beer, but it does have other things on offer if a pint (or half) isn’t your thing. Keen to try a cocktail first (we normally go straight to the beer, the Juicy Bhangra is pretty special) we opted for a Red Snapper, and a Hibiscus Gimlet to help whet our appetite.
The recommendation from me when it comes to Bundobust is share. It’s all too easy to order from the menu what you want for yourself, then spot something someone else has that you wish you’d ordered. So pool your resources. Share and you can have a little taste of everything. We concentrated on new additions to the menu, and old favourites. I absolutely love the Paneer and Mushroom Tikka. Mushrooms, paneer, and peppers are marinaded in yoghurt curd and tikka massala before being barbecued. I’m a sucker for paneer anyway, so juicy mushrooms, crisp peppers all topped with a spicy ketchup and spinach chutney are a must.
Sticking with paneer, we also ordered the Paneer Kadai. This time the paneer is cooked in red pepper and tomato sauce with cinnamon andfenugreek. It’s much deeper and richer and is joining the Tikka as a must have for my next visit.
Perhaps the most disappointing new item was the Massala Dosa. These are thin and light rice pancakes, that are filled with cauliflower and potato and served with a lentil, aubergine and bottle gourd soup for dunking. The soup was great, the filling delicious and stodgy in all the right ways. But the pancake itself had gone soft and a little soggy. We have such good dosas locally to us, that it seemed such a shame that these didn’t have the same crispiness.
That said, there were more hits to be had. The Ragda Pethi should be considered an essential. Spicy mushy peas with a potato cake. and topped with crisp turmeric noodles, tomato, onion and a tamarind chutney. It’s proper northern stodge with a spicy twist.
The onion broccoli and kale bhajis even had Mr GFB believing he likes broccoli (he doesn’t, he really doesn’t) and the Gobi Mushroom Manchurian which is mushroom and cauliflower pakora in an Indo-Chinese style sauce, is so tasty it had him believing he likes cauliflower too.
The new menu tweaks are a total winner for both of us. And with more paneer on the menu, I’ve got more excuse to pop in for a visit.
As if I ever needed one really.
This meal and accompanying drinks were supplied for free by Bundobust. As ever, this doesn’t guarantee a positive review (if anything, I tend to be a harsher critic).