There are plenty of new drinking establishments popping up all over Leeds at the moment. Whether that's the influence of Trinity, the slow climb out of the recession or just good luck, it seems that there's a bit of a trend for bars with decent food offerings developing. Rather than having separate restaurants and bars depending on whether you want to eat or drink, new places have been borrowing from the street food movement and creating substantial, high quality menus which fit into the relaxed, simple vibe of a bar. It makes sense really - it can only be a good idea to intersperse session drinking with some decent grub, it's cheaper than a full meal at a restaurant and it adds an element of flexibility to your night out. No longer will a handful of crisps shared from a greasy packet do when it comes to bar snacks - now it's all about gourmet street food-style dishes. The added benefit of which, you can enjoy your street food without having to actually, you know, stand in the street. A definite plus if you've ever experienced the Leeds weather.
Enter Bundobust - a new craft beer bar with an Indian street food kitchen, the brain child of a collaboration between Bradford's The Sparrow and Prashad. You may have seen their bright orange tent at various foodie events around Leeds over the past year, but now they've set up shop in a permanent residence on Mill Hill - just off the bustling Boar Lane and close enough to the station that you can drink a swift half and grab a bowl of food before your train home after work. It's a formula that's worked well for Friends of Ham and despite Mill Hill being one of the less salubrious areas of the city centre, I think that Bundobust could be the diamond in the rough that this street has been looking for.
The venue is stripped back and unpretentious. Chipboard style benches, walls made of old doors and cushions made of rice sacks - there's no fancy frills here but it's welcoming and friendly. There's an impressive outside space with plenty of seating and a roof - perfect for the changeable weather of Leeds. It's a little bit quirky - behind the bar are fast-food style screens proclaiming 'no beef' - just proving how different this 'fast food' is from the junky places that usually have these screens.
I'll be honest and say that the beers on offer were a little over my head - despite Leeds' love for craft beer I have yet to find one that doesn't make me shudder. I am a wine and gin girl, but Paul enjoyed the beers which he sampled from the taps - particularly the unusual Mango & Habanero flavour. This is a place for those serious about their craft beer, and it's clear that these guys know what they're doing. The beers have been picked to compliment the food - this collaboration is all about showcasing the best of both.
But what about the food? There were just a couple of dishes on offer at the preview night but there will be around 12-15 when they open. As with all the trendiest places, the menu will be changed regularly to keep things interesting and move with the seasons. Whilst the mung bean curry was very good with plenty of flavour, the 'bhel puri' totally blew me away. It was pure perfection in a cup - crunchy turmeric noodles and samosa pastry with puffed rice, fresh tomato and onion and a tamarind chutney. The marriage of flavour and texture was out of this world and I'll definitely be going back for more. I like that their food is a little bit different from what you usually can get at a bar, and it's vegetarian which definitely sets it apart from the usual meaty fare which is commonplace at the moment. This place is definitely one to watch, so get yourself down there from Friday 11th to experience it for yourself!