When my other half gets in from work and asks me how my day was, I always say the same thing: yeah, it was alright thanks, was yours? To this, she normally excitedly divulges a lot more information than my antisocial brain can handle at 7pm on a weeknight on account of chronic cognitive overload. It’s a real cranial workout for us copywriters, you know…
A conversation I can get fully immersed in, however, is what she’s had for lunch. Yeah, your video with 4 million worldwide views is ace and your promotion sounds grand but WHAT HAVE YOU EATEN TODAY? More often than not it’s a tuna baked spud or a carton of chicken soup from Booths but sometimes, she ignites a food envy in me that sends me straight to the to-eat list I actually… legitimately… no word of a lie… keep in the Notes section of my phone. Now that’s dedication to the greedy life, right?
One of the more recent additions to this list was Bundobust. My other half had been to the one in Manchester a couple of times and lamented about some lentil dish she had had there that I just HAD to try…
The more she reminisced, the more aggressively my food envy bubbled. In fact, I think I was just about on the verge of combustion when an invite to try the brand new Bundobust restaurant in Liverpool landed in my inbox. A divine intervention some might say.
Bundobust, Bold Street, Liverpool city centre
This place is a laid back as you like. Canteen style seating, bar service, disposable plates and cutlery (plant-based don’t worry) and staff who don’t look any different to the clientele make you feel right at home instantly. That said, there is also a super high-energy atmosphere which makes dining here feel like a Friday night round the dinner table.
The demographic was almost as eclectic as the vibrant pop-art colour scheme. There were large families and gaggles of mates separated by solo diners with sketchpads and their favourite Spotify playlist. The place definitely encapsulated the colourful, hospitable side of the continent it is so inspired by that’s for damn sure.
You may or may not know at this point that I am, in fact, a complete freak of nature. I am a living, breathing food blogger in the millennial age who doesn’t like coffee, avocado, sushi or beer. Now, coffee and avocado I’m not shifting on. One tastes like you threw an ashtray in a blender with some battery acid and the other just tastes like straight up mud.
I did, however give YO! Sushi and homemade sushi a go to try and change my opinion (transition still pending) and beer, I’m still willing to be a bit more experimental with. Stouts, ales and the kind of crap you get in a murky pint glass at Wetherspoons can be poured down a grid for all I care but I have found myself developing a little penchant for fruit beers of late…
My latest foray into fruit brews came from the extensive Bundobust craft beer menu and went by the name of Damson Sour. It was the perfect accompaniment to Indian street food in the blazing sun but what was most impressive was how the bar staff were able to lead me right to it. They listened to what myself and my partner in dine like and don’t like and provided us both with something that hit each nail on the head. Kudos, kudos, kudos.
As I said in my recent review of Dishoom, I can’t help – no matter how hard I fight it – but compare anything that claims to serve Indian street food to the restaurant which set the bar so high for me many moons ago: Mowgli. However, following my incredible Dishoom experience, I had settled on the fact that there could be a whole spectrum of different homages to this edible sector. Alas, I still stepped over the threshold of Bundobust with frustratingly stubborn preconceptions of how Indian should look and taste.
The verdict? Smashed it out the park, mate.
It wasn’t the borderline fine dining experience that Dishoom offers, nor was it the twinkling, down-to-earth home cooking that Mowgli does so well. The food at Bundobust was fabulous in its very own right, in all it’s colourful, vegetarian glory. (Yeah, I feel like I should probably reiterate at this point that Bundobust is a 100% meat-free establishment so keep that in mind if you’re feeling particularly carnivorous!)
We were advised to pick two or three options each from the diverse array of dishes so we did just that. We had both had loads of recommendations from friends and colleagues before we went so laced some of these into our shared edit of: Okra Fries (£4), Broccoli & Kale Bhajis (£4.50), Bundo Chaat (£4.75), Massala Dosa (£6), Tarka Dahl & Rice (£6) and Paneer Kadai (£6.50).
Highlights for us were the Okra Fries (deep fried lady fingers in chickpea batter with mango powder), the veggie bhajis spiced with fennel & chili and the robust paneer curry served with soft bhatura bread for scooping. I did also love the cold chaat dish which came in layers of samosa pastry, chickpeas, potato, chutney, yoghurt, turmeric noodles and chili sauce. It was sweet and spicy simultaneously and an interesting take on chaat that I hadn’t tried before.
Please view all of the above as high praise from a girl who would definitely, definitely choose some sort of Indian cuisine as their death row meal. Good work, Bundobust and welcome to Liverpool – I hope (read: know) you’re going to be very popular here!
(Oh and FYI – Bundobust do a mean Express Lunch offer of 2 dishes for £7.50 Monday – Friday, 12pm-4pm which believe me, is an absolute STEAL!)
I was very kindly invited to review Bundobust, Liverpool but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.