Bundobust was doing Indian street food before it became trendy – and well before Waitrose declared it one of the big things for 2018.
Situated in Northern England, the operator is inspired by the vibrant and varied street foods of India, but especially from Gujurat, which is predominantly a vegetarian state. Further differentiating itself from the market is the brand’s focus on craft beers.
With a set-up already in Leeds and Manchester, Bundobust is readying to open in Liverpool in late 2018/early 2019 and is also eyeing up a second Manchester site.
Co-founder Marko Husak tells Food Spark that the brand isn’t doing vegetarian food because it is popular or fashionable, but to ensure it remains authentic to the food inspired by the region, while half the menu is also vegan and gluten-free.
“The recipes have been passed down from my co-founder Mayur Patel’s mum, and we are focusing on one region, which not a lot of people have focused on. When we set up the restaurant four years ago in the north, all the curries were meat based and you’d be talking chicken tikka masala or chicken kormas – dishes that were not very authentic and geared up to the Western palate,” he says.
Husak couldn’t have predicted the situation today – where plant-based eating and street food is exploding in popularity among diners – but it does mean a headstart for the Bundobust brand in tweaking its food offering and finding the next big dishes.
Burgers and mash-ups
One of the most popular dishes is the Bundo Chaat – a layered taste sensation of samosa pastry, chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney, yoghurt, onion, turmeric noodles and chilli sauce. The chutney is boiled down over 24 hours, says Husak, and this cold, crunchy dish is a typical street food dish from Gujurat.
Proving Mumbai’s favourite burger can also work is the Vada Pav, which is a customer favourite. It’s a deep-fried, spicy mashed potato ball, served in a brioche bun with red and green chutney. While it sounds simple, there is a lot going on with the spices, according to Husak.
Bundobust also hasn’t shied away from fusion either.
“A dish that we tweaked and made it our own is the Raghda Pethis, which is spicy mushroom peas, a potato cake, turmeric noodles and tamarind chutney. That’s a northern and Indian mash-up, as when the Indian communities came to the north they got into pies and fish and chips with mushy peas, so we developed down from that and made our own version,” says Husak.
Next up Indo-Chinese?
So what next for the Bundobust brand?
Husak says they have tweaked the menu three times already, but will be looking to do a few more mash-ups inspired by other regions, as well as showcasing new dishes on the specials menu. But he also has his eye on the trends taking off in India.
“What’s popular in India is Indo-Chinese food, which is a mash up with Indo and Chinese food. It’s really popular in main cities and we have looked at that and maybe want to bring a bit of that in to reflect what’s actually going on in India,” he says.
“No one has really taken Indo-Chinese to the commercial level in the UK. There are a few places on the outskirts of London serving the local community, but otherwise you can’t find it. It’s targeted as the next big food trend and someone could do it well big time.”
Interestingly, Dishoom’s executive chef, Naved Nasir, told Food Spark he also thought there was potential for the Indo-Chinese cuisine in the UK.