Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Man Behind The Curtain - Leeds

Now i'm firmly based 'Up North' and finally out of my (admittedly short-sighted) bubble of only keeping an eye on new openings in London, the announcement and buzz late summer around Michael O'Hare opening The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds city centre certainly captured my attention. Mr O'Hare was an entirely new name to me but having done a bit of research and seeing details of the previous restaurants he'd worked for and menus he'd been responsible for certainty piqued my interest enough to book in. Am I ever glad that I did.

Michael is clearly somewhat outspoken about what he expects from this restaurant, just take a look at the 'thoughts' section on the restaurant website. Amongst the bravado, he talks about the goal for Man Behind the Curtain is "to create a restaurant serving ultra modern food that has its own identity. I like the idea of always having one iconic dish on the menu – not classic but iconic". I love that he's set himself such a high standard and set a mission statement like this on the website for him to be judged by in the future, and one that I look forward to checking back on in a few years to see whether he's succeeded.

One thing I wasn't particularly impressed with was the booking e-mail that requested that I call them to make a £20 deposit per person and a note near the bottom that stated "We kindly request that guests dress smartly for the experience, as such gentleman are requested to wear a jacket for dinner. Sports shoes and leisurewear are not permitted." I like getting dressed up for a nice meal as much as anyone and would've rolled with a suit anyway but I absolutely hate being told what to wear - especially when i'm sat in the restaurant dressed up and see people traipsing in wearing jeans and a scruffy check shirt. Some sort of consistency would be good in this regard, but I appreciate that a newly opened fine dining restaurant in the North can't always be as fussy as they'd like to pretend to be, given the reduced audience in the first place.

As a first impression on arriving at a restaurant, this was certainly one of the odder ones - there was a small sign in the window of Flannels clothing store advising that there was a restaurant on the top floor which I feel like could very easily have been missed, especially after a few drinks. Being greeted by a security guard holding a scrap of paper with reservation names on and then walking through a darkened store early evening was certainly a pretty underwhelming start to things and must be an absolute security nightmare. I did read afterwards that it has been used for a restaurant in the past making me even more surprised that they've never sorted this out with a stairway or some other means of access. It definitely made the restaurant feel secondary to the shop and given the attention to detail that was displayed throughout the restaurant itself (i'll get to this later), this introduction was a real shame.

Spirits were immediately lifted once we got into the lift and the menu was displayed to whet our appetites on the way up to the third floor. The evening menu is made up of one option - the  12 course 'Degustation' menu (dictionary definition of degustation, to save you looking it up is "the action or an instance of tasting especially in a series of small portions").

The wine pairing to match the tasting menu was pitched at a very reasonable £20 which covered 4 glasses in total or 3 courses per glass. 

The small but perfectly formed cocktail menu sounded interesting so it would have been rude not to get started on those.

"Violet Gin and Tonic"

"Tahitian vanilla"
This came encased in a solid ball of ice with the alcohol melting away in the bottom like a boozy slush puppy. The hollow vanilla pod as a straw was a nice touch.

"Antipasti"
A great show-piece to start, served on a silver tray and consisting of olives and anchovies with a drop of oil served within a clear edible bag. They were to be dipped into the glass of vermouth for two seconds to allow the outer casing to begin to break down and then popped it into your mouth to allow the bag to disintegrate leaving a delicious salty snack. A wonderfully imaginative small and perfectly formed introduction.


"Salty Fingers"
Creamy oyster emulsion served with an oyster shell, sat on a bed of flakey salt and surrounded by tart oyster leaf and 'salty fingers' which are a second type of edible leaf and a new one on me - crunchy and pleasantly bitter. The leaves were used to dip into the 'oyster' and the tartness of the leaves combined perfectly with the rich sauce. The sauce was so great it was a proper finger into the shell job to try every last drop.

"Potato"
Served hot, ths consisted of a piece of potato which was light almost like a tiny dumpling and served with a thin sliver of lardo and sprinkled with frieze dried raspberry for some extra crunch and sweetness. The spoon was still slightly warm to the touch and this whole course was like perfect miniaturised comfort food. 

"Pea"
One of those clever dishes that was both hot and cold simultaneously, served with a scoop of pea ice cream as the centre piece and which had hot pea soup poured onto the dish by the chef at the table. Beetroot, red cabbage and carrot sauce where then swirled through the pea to add colour and tartness to the soup. The whole thing tasted of the freshest most flavoursome peas and was incredibly light and enjoyable. 
It came served with a side of fresh bread with a portion of delicious fatty lardo and what was described as bacon crunch, essentially tiny flakes of crispy bacon. I assume the bread was meant to be used to dip into the pea soup but the fatty bacon spread was so good on it's own that it almost completely distracted from the pea. I was so impressed that even a casually introduced side almost took attention away from the stunning pea dish.


"Langoustine"
The crustacean was served in a moules mariniere consumme with drops of parsley oil. At first each spoonful was almost too much like taking a mouthful of salty sea water but as the initial burst of flavour subsided it became much milder, especially once i'd swallowed some of the juice and had the plump langoustine left to savour. The presentation was once again stunning, each spoon could be lifted away from the centrepiece but this was initially barely noticeable. 

"Fish"
The fish course apparently changes daily based on whatever is fresh at the local Kirkgate market which was great to hear from the chef. On this occasion I was served a beautiful looking piece of incredibly delicate cod loin, covered with tiny scraps of crispy potato and served in squid ink with a dose of what must've been vinegar powder sprinkled over the top. It was like fish and chips turned up to 11 and smelt absolutely incredible as it was placed in front of me. A truly stunning plate of food. 

"Veal"
In a change to the menu, the sweetbreads had been replaced with a portion of Lobster tail. Sweetbreads are one of my favourites so I was initially a little disappointed but what better than lobster tail as a replacement? The tail came served on a swirl of black garlic paste and a slice of dried milk skin on top as presentation. The milk and garlic were extremely mild taste wise, more there to add texture to the dish whilst allowing the flavour of the lobster to shine. 

"Ox"
A portion of wonderfully succulent ox cheek, swerved with a foie gras and cherry sauce then decorated with puffed salt and vinegar wild rice. The sherry paired with this course had also been used in the sauce which worked together and complemented each other exceptionally well. The crunchiness of the puffed rice with the ultra soft meat was another fantastic combination, another real highlight.

"Ice" 
Inspired by Tobacco and Vanille scent from the Tom Ford private collection. I'd had a sniff previously but it was a nice touch to have the sample card sprayed with the scent. Hidden inside the tin were two posh mini-milk type lollies flavoured with the rich vanilla and tobacco flavour of the perfume, which were chopped open with the haircutting scissors. A really inventive dish that worked on even more senses at the same time.
As a brief aside, I noticed this morning on a TripAdvistor review of the restaurant that ChesireTraveller80 mentioned "Top Tip... don't take the Tom Ford card you will have to give it back (you will know what we mean when you go)." WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? 


"Strawberry" 
This was a dessert right up my street - light, refreshing and cleansing after the prior courses. Made up of a couple of fresh compressed strawberries and a scoop of parmesan ice cream, finished with basil snow and pieces of freeze dried strawberry, all served on a base of 'raw crumble' and balsamic gel. What sounded like a lot to fit in flavour wise worked together fantastically, the sweetness of the strawberries toned down with the parmesan and basil and that tiny taste of balsamic at the end the icing on the cake. Wonderful.

"Chocolate"
Left to right in the photo below, these certainly kept the imagination levels high. 
Frieze dried raspberry with saffron encased in milk chocolate. 
I'm not 100% sure on this one, I believe it was cep mushroom in dark chocolate
The highlight was the Campari and grapefruit liquid hidden away in the hard white chocolate outer - a down in one job if there ever was one as the centre was fit to burst with the smallest of pressure.
The final chocolate was a strip of crispy bean curd encased in milk chocolate and rolled in lavender and caraway.

"Fruit"
The final course was an ultra-refreshing portion of compressed fruit. Consisting of watermelon, mango, kiwi, pineapple, pomegranate - like drinking a huge glass of fresh fruit juice. 

Attention to detail in high-end places like this always really impresses me and the presentation throughout the restaurant and meal here was just fantastic, with the yellow coat hanger theme ever present, It was worked into the menu layout, the cutlery boxes, the dishes, the receipt and even down to yellow loo roll in the bathroom. Clearly no expense had been spared on the tableware, with bespoke dishes for most courses, fresh boxes of cutlery appearing regularly and even down to niceties such as the geranium Aesop handwashes and creams as well as 'post-poo' drops (snigger). One particularly impressive highlight was the carefully lit service kitchen at end of dining room which added great showmanship to the occasion. You can see from the low table that absolutely nothing was left hidden.
Massively impressive.

Overall, this was one of the most enjoyable dining surprises of the year for me and it will easily make my top 5 meals of the year, I went in with little to no expectations and came away massively impressed. There was absolutely nothing I could fault, which is rare for me. The service was absolutely impeccable, with a mixture of servers and chefs presenting each course with the usual explanations you come to expect in a restaurant like this. Honestly, it was up there with the best service i've experienced - extremely professional yet at the same time it felt laid back and welcoming rather than stuffy and sterile like fine-dining often becomes. I was full of questions as the food being served was genuinely interesting to me and everyone had answers on the tip of their tongue.

The bill came to approx £200 which covered two of the 'degustation' tasting menus, cocktails before and after dinner, wine pairing throughout, coffees and tip. Excellent value for the quality of food and an extremely enjoyable 3 hours in the restaurant. I wouldn't hesitate to go back and whole-heartedly recommend it.
Man Behind the Curtain on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

[On-going project] Craft beer and real ale pubs in Manchester city centre

I thought i'd put together a map to aid all those drinkers heading into our fine city for a session on the beers. I've added brief descriptions of the range of beers, cask and keg options where possible and any other information of use.

I plan to keep this up to date and will continue to add further pubs, details and descriptions as things change over time. If there's anything amiss please do let me know!

Map is embedded below, alternatively here is the link if you'd like to play around yourself:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zK3bPxW6uyVw.kqliaw4dTYAk

El Capo

El Capo originally opened in summer just as a Mexican themed bar, providing another option on Tariff Street between Whiskey Jar and Kosmonaut for drinks. The premises is split into two floors very similarly to their aforementioned neighbours, in this case with the top floor primarily focused on the bar area and to serve food in on quieter occasions and the basement being the main restaurant area. The design is heavily based on an English twist on what you would imagine a typical Mexican cantina with lots of Mexican influenced paintings on the walls (sugar skulls, sombreros etc), bottles of tequila as vases, rustic tiles around the bar and wooden flooring throughout. It's clear some real attention has been spent on the decor and there were a few lovely touches such as the tables upstairs all having fresh lillies in the tequila bottle vases.
The opening of the restaurant area in late August was accompanied by one of those great stories that adds a lot of 'authenticity' (shudder) to a place like this with a tale of the head chef Troy Almador returning from extensive travelled in South America to learn about the tradition of much of the cuisine he plans to serve. Certainly a lot more impressive than downloading the Wahaca menu and trying to copy as much as possible. For me, the research has certainly paid off as when it comes to the menu they're well covered on both the typical Mexican staples (burritos, tacos, churros and so on) but digging a bit deeper into the menu reveals some more interesting options including prawn and scallop ceviche, pan seared cows heart and slow cooked pork stew. Certainly not your typical fare. 

As you'd expect since they've been open as a bar for several months, the drinks menu was pretty extensive - lots of interesting South American influenced cocktails, several wines and a ton of Mexican and American beers, lots of new names on me and certainly enough variation that a night in here on the booze would be a good time. 
I was so impressed during the first visit that I was keen to head back and try a few more dishes (as well as a few immediate favourites again) as quickly as possible so the food mentioned below was eaten across both meals. On the first occasion I ate upstairs, it was very quiet as I first arrived (worryingly so, with only 2 other tables occupied) and as a result we got some fantastic attention from the waitress who was extremely knowledgeable and helpful with the menu - making some great recommendations. The second visit was made on a busy Saturday night, with only one table still available when I dropped in - reassuringly the service was just as good and attentive which was certainly left a good impression. 

"Chicharron"
A snack of crispy, fatty long pork scratchings which came accompanied with a pot of chilli vinegar which added tartness. The long scratchings combined with a shallow ramekin weren't ideal for dipping and meant it was only possible to dip a cm or so at a time, still well worth the effort.

"Guevara No. 4"
The waitress did the right thing and warned me I was in for ceviche (raw fish typically cured in lemon and lime juice). I do always get slightly panicked when ordering ceviche as clearly if seafood isn't prepared properly the next 24-48 hours aren't going to be particularly pleasant. The presentation was initially off-putting but the seafood here was all very good flavour-wise, the queenies (baby scallops) were served roe-on which I know often turns people off but I dug in and thoroughly enjoyed it. The prawns and salmon were similarly delicate, the citrus was clearly pronounced in the fish but not over-bearing. The smoked sour cream served with a sprinkling of coriander in this instance.tasted of very little but added a welcome creamy texture to the dish.
"Cartel Pollo" (left in the photo below)
This consisted of two decent sized chicken breasts which had clearly spent a lengthy amount of time marinated in garlic, onion and coconut milk as the meat was so tender it tasted almost slow cooked. Draped with a few slices of well cooked pepper, this was an excellent start to proceedings.

"Prawnstar" (right in the photo below)
Seven well cooked bite-size prawns which had been butterflied and were served red hot still in the pan, lathered in garlic and chilli oil. Great as a dish to share.
"Mi Corazon" (on the left below, shocking photo - apologies)
Pan seared cow's heart which was served with slices of Aiji pepper, a very mild flavoursome vegetable. The meat was one of the big hits of both visits, cooked medium (not that you can tell from the photo), there's no way this wasn't freshly prepared given the cut of meat. 

"Sonora Salad" (on the right below)
A big old portion of quinoa salad, stuffed with peppers, plantain, salted cheese and topped with a couple of slices of grilled avocado - crisp on the outside but still creamy within. The real hit here was the taco bowl it was served in, forget your old el paso wafer thin taco bowl - this was a dream, thick almost short-crust pastry and the whole thing tasted like it had been deep fried to hold it all together in one piece. Absolutely fantastic, I could happily have sat all afternoon snapping pieces of a giant one of these and dipping them into hot sauce. Not the healthy option I imagined on ordering but very enjoyable for a 'salad'.
"Messi-Cow" (cooked rare in the photos below)
An 8oz portion of Argentinian steak which came well seasoned, it was so good on the first visit that I couldn't resist going for it again on the second. It comes with a choice of two sides from a list of 8.
Second time - asked how rare they'd go and the waitress advised blue, I thought this had come back as 'blue' as i'd like, it appeared just touched on the grill but I got hammered on twitter as it apparently wasn't properly blue. The meat didn't taste as well seasoned as the first time but was still very enjoyable.
The four sides I had with the steaks were:
Sweetcorn (top left below) - a full cob sliced in half, cooked to perfection for me (maintaining the crunch to the corn) and lathered in chillo mayo and slices of pepper. A full cob chopped in half made for a very generous portion.
Cassava chips (top right below) - A new one on me, it had that lovely grainy texture of bread fruit (suspect it's a near relative), very enjoyable as an alternative to your typical french fries. The best of the four sides I tried. 
Coconut rice (bottom right below) - this was very stodgy, almost like a side of only mildly sweet rice pudding. 
Refried beans (bottom left below) - standard refried beans, fairly bland on their own but fine with a dollop of hot sauce added. 
"Nachos"
I had the nachos as a snack to start on the second visit and they were fairly decent. There were a few toppings to choose from (shredded pork, chicken, grilled meat, chilli con carne or chocolate chilli) and I went with the pork. The chips were a step up from the bland cardboard you often get served but overall everything was fairly dry, the sides of guacamole and salsa helped - both of which were fine but fairly small portions and nothing special flavour wise. They got picked at but not finished. 
"Lometo Completo" 
The steak was excellent, again ordered rare and arrived stuffed inside a deliciously soft bun with a fried egg and mustard making for a really messy sandwich. The side salad served within a few leaves of iceberg lettuce added enough to turn this into a course of food rather than just a burger. The menu mentioned curtido (which is apparently somewhat like a Mexican version of kimchi) and the taste was powerful enough to give a little extra to the salad to keep it interesting. 
"Helado" (Ice cream)
I was intrigued by the idea of the purple potato ice cream but it was unfortunately off for the evening (along with the churros - a shame as it's the 'classic' Mexican dessert) but an alternative of coconut ice cream turned out to be a good choice. Three ceramic skulls were dished up with a scoop of creamy coconut ice cream in each, looking worryingly like it'd been shaped into a quiff (I really hope this was deliberate). There was nothing spectacular flavour wise but looks-wise definitely more interesting than a bowl with 3 scoops of ice cream in.
"Pedro's Changa"
A crispy deep fried tortilla filled with mango and spiced apple which came sprinkled with cinnamon sugar adding a hit of sweetness to a fairly savoury dessert - it reminded me a lot of apple strudel. This was right up my street and the side of Vanilla ice cream in another of the skull dishes rounded things off well.
So overall, I came away on both occasions genuinely impressed by El Capo and it speaks volumes that I made a repeat visit so quickly as this is a very rare occurrence for me (I have to admit the 50% discount they had on for the first 3 weeks did help). I'd been expecting a pretty bog standard Mexican with focus on the drinks but was served really tasty and imaginative food, the ceviche in particular is a bold move for them to make and I wish them well. Based on the full menu prices, I'd say that all the portions were value for money with the possible exception of the prawns. The overall quality of the food was very high and as a result El Capo is definitely recommended.
El Capo on Urbanspoon

Almost Famous NQ

Suffering from one of the worst hangovers of my entire life, what better time for me to head to my local burger bar and see what they've been up to? To say the previous 7 days for Almost Famous had been a week to forget was something of an understatement and I was intrigued to see whether all this bad publicity may have had much effect on business.
Over the past week they'd suffered from the following horrendous press:

First, the Great Northern branch was shut for 24 hours after a visit by the Councils Environmental Health Team (as reported by the MEN here)

Then they were hammered by various bloggers and the national press for a dubious display in the toilets of the new Leeds branch, here and here amongst others.

Personally, I think there has been more than enough commentary on both of these issues and (for now at least), this blog is solely focused on restaurant and food reviews so forgive me for not wading in this time and instead trying to focus on any positives I could find. 

Having been to the Great Northern branch of Almost Famous on several occasions (including a visit which I blogged about previously here) I decided to stumble into to the latest addition to their family at the far end of Edge Street, which is above another restaurant in their ever-growing empire - Lust, Liquor, Burn. Strangely, the entry is slightly tucked away in that there is no clear signage above the door and the only give-away as to where the entrance was hidden was a doorman and member of staff armed with a clipboard directing people upstairs. I suppose they're still in that situation where being even vaguely hidden is all part of the excitement but when you've got a giant restaurant at the other end of the city personally I think that boat has slightly sailed. 

So had the press they'd had to deal with made much of a difference? It was actually quite difficult to judge as I was in and out fairly quickly (quite literally fast food) but it was very quiet early evening on the Friday night. It was the usual order at the bar with your table number job and for 2 burgers, a side of fries, a cocktail and a soft drink the bill came to £27 which was certainly reasonable. 
Burger wise I went for the Famous Burger - their 'standard' toned down burger consisting of a beef patty, american style burger cheese, a bit of salad (lettuce, sliced tomato and red onion) then the big mac style burger sauce bringing everything together nicely.
Triple nom - this one is a double burger, with cheese slices, then a big helping of pulled pork soaked in barbecue sauce and then more of the big mac style 'famous sauce' jammed into the brioche bun.

It probably helps that I'm familiar with the menu now so know what to order, but the burgers seemed a lot more under control and not bursting at the seams like they used to be - a real positive for me of this was that the great flavour of the meat was not completely overwhelmed by the toppings.  The options seemed to be almost identical burger-wise to that in the Great Northern branch (albeit burgers cooked rare are an option here) with a few new sides and a special burger of the week which in this case was a Greek option which definitely including Tzatziki - the mind boggles. I appreciate that they know their market and a lot of the attraction to AF is these over the top too big to eat jaw locking burgers but they just leave me totally cold. 

The unexpected highlight of this whole meal was the "Love Hate" fries which appeared to be normal French fries mixed with a few sweet potato fries and then absolutely lathered in a mixture of meltd butter and Marmite. I adore Marmite and this took me immediately back to 1000's of slices of toast I've eaten over the years with exactly the same topping - it's total genius for Marmite lovers out there.
I have a giant soft spot for MeatLiquor who are now just a short train journey away in Leeds (as of the 9th September) and since they are heavily rumoured to be rapidly approaching Manchester I'd assumed in all honesty this would probably be my last visit to AF. But despite all of the self-induced bullshit that seems to be surrounding them at the moment at the heart of things they're still churning out fantastic tasting burgers and those Marmite fries alone will ensure I'll be back for some more before long.  

  Almost Famous on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bundobust, Leeds

Crossing the Pennines to Leeds over the past year since I moved North has become a real pleasure. There's a cluster of restaurants and bars just stumbling distance from the train station that I thoroughly enjoy taking in Brewery Tap, Laynes Coffee, Friends of Ham, Tapped, Trinity Kitchen, Brewdog and Reds (if needing stodge desperately). When I heard Bundobust was opening mid-July just around the corner from Friends of Ham, I was keen to check it out with a view to getting it into my regular rotation if it was any cop.
Bundobust combine Indian street food from the Prashad family who apparently (I haven't been) have a well regarded 'proper' restaurant elsewhere in Yorkshire along with drink supplied by The Sparrow craft beer bar in Bradford. The restaurant itself is a great little place decor-wise and had attracted a fairly broad mix of people, not just the young and hip that my photos below reflect. The huge windows at the front and sides (overlooking an outdoor covered seating area) made the whole atmosphere really airy and welcoming. It was fairly busy on a weekend mid-afternoon but there was still plenty of space to grab a table quickly, a couple of larger banquet style tables near the bar really help squeeze as many people as possible for those that don't mind communal eating.
First thoughts - the bar. It's clear that some thought has gone into matching the beer selection with the food on offer with a drink menu consisting of their own coriander lager along with plenty of refreshing pales, tart saisons, and various wheat options on draft and by the bottle. Prices are fairly typical inflated city centre fare, with pints starting at around £3.50 and with bottles all the way up to an eye-watering £22.50 for one of the special Mikkellers they have on the menu.

The food menu is made up of cold snack dishes on the left and then hot food on the right. The chap who took my order was extremely helpful in explaining it all and said a couple of dishes per person should be enough, he talked a lot about sharing the food between us but paper pots of curry don't particularly lend well to this concept at all. The snacks sure, but imagine handing round a bowl of curry and all digging in with separate spoons? I was with a couple of close friends but still find this a bit of a grim prospect especially as there was no hint of sharing bowls offered. Anyway, you grab a table and order at the bar Nandos style, get given a plastic spoon with a number drawn on and the food arrives fairly promptly afterwards.
Disappointingly for Indian food there was no indication of how hot these dishes might be and no option to ask for extra heat. I'm no fiend for a monstrously hot curry but I know people get very protective of curry and like the option.

I should make it clear that the top three of the dishes below (Popcorn, Idli Sambha and Okra fries) I ordered and ate myself so can add a little more detail. 

"Popcorn and pops" £3
A laughable portion of greasy popcorn served in the same size dish as the rest of the food was a surprise, this came with a neon green colouring which had hints of garlic and green chilli but extremely mild. The three pieces of popadom could easily have been replaced by a giant hand sticking two fingers up at me mocking me for having paid £3 for what most restaurants give you for free.

Okra fries £3
These were excellent, the highlight for me. I'd expected them to be warm like a side of french fries but they were served stone cold so I assume they must just cook them in giant batches and dish them up during the day. Whatever they'd used to batter them had stayed hard giving them a satisfying crunch. The sprinkling of spice made for a great snack.

Idli Sambha £6
Two dumplings sat either side of a portion of lentil soup, with a dollop of coconut chutney sat in the middle. The soup was lukewarm with a very mild chilli spice. A perfectly fine little dish, the spongey dumplings had absorbed the soup but still held together nicely, adding some necessary bulk to the dish.

Spice and rice £6.50
This was one of the specials of the day, described as "Low and slow mung bean curry served with basmati rice". On appearance alone I was very surprised it was the same size as the popcorn dish for the most expensive dish on the menu. I had a spoonful out of the bottom and it was a fairly generic tasting mild bean curry, nothing to really get excited about. 

Ragda Pethis £6
Another of the dishes from the hot side of the menu, this one consisted of "potato cutlets, spiced mushy peas, tamarind chutney and tumeric noodles". I didn't try this so can't comment on the taste. 

Bundo Chaat £4
Final of the hot dishes we ordered, this had a Samosa hidden away in the "chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney and yoghurt" with a sprinkling of tumeric noodles on top. I didn't try this so can't comment on the taste. 

The food detailed along with 3 half pints of mid-priced draft beers came to a shade over £35 between three of us. £12 for a light lunch with a half of beer i'd say would be a shade expensive but we all left so hungry that we had to resort to raiding Marks and Spencers afterwards pre-train back to Manchester. If I were to compare it to somewhere like Mughli where a portion of their fantastic lamb chops would be the same price as the pot of spice and rice it's absolutely too expensive for my tastes, especially as the food was nothing special. If there were some sort of combo of a couple of hot dishes with snacks for £10 to create a proper 'meal' i'd be much keener.

I think it's worth noting here (if you hadn't noticed from the menu) that all of these dishes are vegetarian so there isn't even the excuse of expensive meats to bump up the costs of production. Charging £5-6 for a small bowl of curry sauce with rice must make them an astronomical mark-up.

There has been a ton of hype on twitter after the obligatory freebie blaggers rolled in on opening night, were given free food and gushed accordingly. Job done. My thoughts and wariness on this type of scenario is something i've whinged about at length before but is a prime example whereby if you remove price of food from the equation here then yes, Bundobust is a great little restaurant but it's absolutely too expensive it's annoying to me that this wasn't reflected in all the positivity I've read.

So would I go back? I would definitely head to the bar again, the constantly changing beer menu would be enough to tempt me back on that front if they continue to keep it interesting. The food? Not so much unless they sort those prices out. 
Bundobust on Urbanspoon