Bundobust – Indian Vegetarian Streetfood Comes to Manchester

I was kindly invited  last night to one of the two private launch evenings for another Manchester Newcomer, Bundobust. Not being massively familiar with the Leeds food scene, I hadn’t heard of it before, and had to take to Google to suss it out!

Bundobust is, in four words, Delicious Indian Vegetarian Streetfood. You won’t find any meat options on their menu, though you might rejoice (should you be the unlucky carnivore) to see their wide range of craft beers on tap.

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it took us a little while to find it, located in the basement beside a Subway on Piccadilly (the corner of Portland street by Piccadilly Gardens), though the entrance once spotted is pretty cool. You descend beneath a purposefully ‘Hinglish’ sign stating “Welcome Please”, into a cool, long subterranean restaurant, split by booths and long tables and benches. The furniture and fixtures are a pleasant mish-mash of reclaimed 90s breezeblock, woodchip and glass panes, alongside new orange leather-look booths and fresh formica-style tables. Not to mention the really cool custom Bundobust Hindi posters – I need to get me one of the Beehive ones…

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We ordered 4 dishes and some rice, settling for Bhajis, Punjabi Khadi, Tarka Dhal, Chole Bhatura. I chose a half of their craft beer, Bombay Dazzler, which pairs really well with the spiced Indian food due to the presence of cardamom et al.

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The food was served in card pots, the same material as coffee cups, and you use plastic cutlery and paper plates that are laid ready in the centre of the table. I did wonder if these were recyclable at all, as this restaurant would generate rather a lot of waste otherwise!

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VERDICT

Manchester is already lucky enough to have a Mowgli, which in my view is a “level-up” from Bundobust in it’s interior style, the manner in which food is served (metal tins and proper plates, versus plastic cutlery and paper plates and serving pots), and for the fact they offer both vegetarian and carnivore menus.

That said, I enjoyed Bundobust. It was effortless in it’s interior style- I could see myself enjoying a drink or two over a light lunch at the weekend – they offer a 2 for £7 lunch menu. The music was fun and energetic, I loved the orange & mint colour scheme and the eclectic fittings and decorations. The staff were really friendly, and the loos get a big thumbs up for their amazing tiling!

thanks to  Simon at I Like Press for organising the evening.

 

 

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Bakchich & Arabic Afternoon Tea

Last weekend I was invited to attend a blogger event at the newly launched Manchester branch of Bakchich, whose flagship restaurant can be found on the coolest street in Liverpool, Bold Street.

You’ll find it tucked down Chester Street, off Oxford Road, nestled in the heart of a buzzing student area. Keep your peepers peeled for this sign.

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The event was themed around Arabic afternoon tea, which was a very intriguing concept to me. I’m not overly enamored by British Afternoon tea. I prefer Cheese scones to fruit, and I’d take pie over cake if given the choice (I know I’m totally Northern, and proud).

We were greeted warmly by Gary, the General Manager, possibly (and I mean this in a highly complimentary way) the most Manc person I’ve met in a long while. Floral shirt button up the top, and rocking a haircut the Gallagher brothers would approve of (approval being some form of curt nod, following by an utterance of “Kid”).

After being seated and plied with Morroccan Tea (mint, green tea and a generous injection of brown sugar make up this delicious traditional brew, poured from a great height to generate bubbles), I took I few moments to appraise the interior.

You’ll find the staple beauty that are Morroccan tiles and prints, splashed across walls, floors and the menus in various guises and palettes; interspersed with burnished copper, filament bulbs and an urban vibe in the wall art and the tables and chairs.

What followed was a flurry of dishes being circulated between myself and my Husband and the other couple who had attended – well known and well loved Arabic, Moroccan and Lebanese favourites in miniature form – Shawarma, falafel, Lebanese Sausage, Halloumi, Manakeesh… As well as many other things I can’t recall the names of.

You can browse the full menu here.

One of the main highlights for me was actually the variety of soft drinks that were served – 3 different types of handmade Lemonades, blended with mint and limes, Rose, or pomegranate and orange blossom. They were all absolutely delicious, so fragrant and refreshing. None of the photos I took were very flattering but you will have to take my word for it that they looks beautiful, too.

The main delight of the event for me was meeting Amine (Pronounced Eh-min I believe, and apologies to him if I’ve spelled it wrong!). Founder of the restaurant, he served us many of the dishes and explained to us what they were, if they were vegetarian and what they were made of. He came to sit with is while we were enjoying our pastries and Arabic Coffee and we chatted happily to him about his passion for serving fresh handmade food. Amine was delightful, sharing our enthusiasm for Liverpool, where my husband and I used to live, and also sharing our joy that so many Indie restaurants are finding a home in Manchester.

His main vision, he said, was to make sure his food was tasty enough and also very importantly, affordable enough to have families dine with him as often as they chose. His menu is very reasonably priced; his food, right down to even the dips was clearly hand made with love and care, and his staff were friendly and welcoming.

Thank you to Amine for hosting us, we had a wonderful time – my husband was the happiest I have seen him in a while when that dish of pastries was placed before him!

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You can be sure we will come back, and I will tell everyone I know that Bakchich is delicious, and affordable.

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Lunya deli manchester

It’s arrived – Lunya Deli opens in Manchester

Although I embrace my current Manc situation and the Manc way of life, I spent 4 years of my life in Liverpool where I studied at University. Liverpool is so much smaller than Manchester, yet in spite of that has a lot going on within it’s condensed city centre.

Bold street is the Northern Quarter of Liverpool. It has one of the oldest China Towns in the UK; Students form a  sizeable portion of the population of the city, and cultures live happily side by side in the  form of restaurants and eating establishments as you might expect in any multicultural city.

Nestled behind BBC Merseyside HQ just off Hanover street was a Catalan Deli & Restaurant called Lunya. Me and Matt (boyfriend back then, Husband now) used to visit there as often as budget allowed, and we absolutely loved the food. The vibe was simple, unpretentious. They let the food do all of the talking.

Can you imagine our delight when we heart it was making the journey along the M62 to Manchester?

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We were invited to attend their launch evening last weekend, and we rubbed our hands together with excitement, keen to revisit old favourite dishes and perhaps try new ones- after all, they were offering 50% off the bill!

Barton Arcade Manchester
Barton Arcade – a jewel often overlooked on Manchester’s Deansgate

The new digs in the Stunning Barton Arcade on Deansgate are perfect. Walking in, I immediately felt at home with the simplistic interior of warm dark red walls and dark wooden furniture. We were seated at the bar and placed a drink ordered before being taken to our seats in the dining area upstairs.

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We ordered a number of dishes ; Croquettes (a personal addiction), Ox Cheeks (by far the most beautiful thing in existence), Cuttlefish with black rice, Goats Cheese, and a deli platter featuring delicious cuts of Spanish meats and hard cheeses.

All food comes at different times, and no single dish disappointed us in terms of presentation or flavour. You can browse their menu here but I note that some of the Manc specials are absent.

As well as their expansive tapas menu, Lunya offers a variety of world-wide gins, beautiful Spanish wines and has a fantastic cocktail menu – here’s my passion fruit Mojito!

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Lunya comes along on the tide of a much welcomed culinary explosion in Manchester’s city centre in recent months, with the unveiling of eateries in the newly refurbished Corn Exchange alongside news of the expansion of well-loved Northern quarter restaurants into the Great Northern Building.

Not that Manchester could ever be accused of offering a lack of choice, it’s just that often one has to travel outside of the city to find the gems, when if you simply want to fall into the nearest place and be guaranteed a good meal, then the new openings will be sure to deliver just that.

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Lunya Deli