Bundobust Manchester

Mayur Patel and Mark Husak

JournalFood & Drink

Bundobust Manchester

Celebrating one year in Manchester, Bundobust talk us through their successes and local independent community...

Long neglected, a Grade II listed meat market on the edge of Manchester’s Northern Quarter recently reopened its doors as an independent food hall in the vein of Copenhagen’s Paper Island and the Time Out Market, Lisbon.

Mackie Mayor

Mammoth fish finger butty from FIN

And it’s here at Mackie Mayor where we meet the two minds behind Indian street food and craft beer powerhouse, Bundobust; Mark Husak and Mayur Patel running humbly through their success story as contemporaries and peers from the indie food scene stop and say hi.

It’s this connection to their local communities that typifies exactly what the Bundo boys are about — honest and unfussy, the duo have just celebrated their first successful year in Manchester and are gearing up for their forthcoming Liverpool restaurant, but are just as happy talking about other players on their city’s independent food scene. Tucking into a fish finger butty of Herculean proportions from sustainable fish bar FIN, it’s clear to see that Husak and Patel aren’t just happy to be part of a bigger picture, that bigger picture is what drives them.

Mackie Mayor Manchester

Inside Mackie Mayor’s fine conversion from long-derelict building to independent food market, Photo © We Heart

Bundobust Indian Street Food

Paired with craft beer, this is the sort of unfussy Indian street food that has led to Bundobust’s runaway success

The Bundobust story starts several years ago, Husak (of Bradford craft beer bar, Sparrow Bier Café) and Patel (a fellow Bradfordian and part of the family behind the city’s revered Indian restaurant Prashad) taking a potential beer and curry pairing night at the Sparrow quite a few steps further.

Bundobust Leeds

Bundobust Leeds

Using pop-ups and kitchen takeovers to help fund and raise awareness for their project, the collaboration became a physical reality when Bundobust opened its doors on Leeds’s Mill Hill in the summer of 2014. Named after a Hindi term for an ‘arrangement’, this coming together is a concept as honest and unfussy as the chaps themselves, and has been a runaway success; riding high on the waves that the north of England’s buoyant craft beer scene has carved.

With breweries like Manchester’s Cloudwater, Northern Monk in Leeds, and Huddersfield’s Magic Rock making a name for themselves internationally, the north is enjoying quite the moment in the sun — complementing those craft brews with flavoursome vegetarian food informed by Mayur Patel’s family heritage, Bundobust’s success story might be a case of ‘right place, right time’ but, as iconic food critic Jay Rayner will contest, there is plenty of substance to back up their concept.

Bundobust Manchester
Bundobust Manchester
Bundobust Manchester

Bundobust Manchester: Mark Husak and Mayur Patel manage the interior design concepts of each restaurant themselves, citing budget constraints as inspiration for their aesthetic and insisting that, although a core style will remain, it’s important each location has its own identity. The duo have a longterm collaboration with illustrator Drew Millward.

“It was all a bit crazy,” admits Husak of Rayner’s unexpected but glowing review — coming just a couple of months after their Manchester opening; “it’s built itself on word of mouth,” wrote one of the biggest personalities in food, “and I’m not at all surprised. Because I, too, want to shout about it.”

The duo seem as pleased with the recognition for their concept and cuisine as they do the bums on seats that a review like this inevitably drives — and Patel’s passion for innovation is clear; the duo’s Liverpool opening (slated for next summer) will house a development kitchen from which the chef and his team will devise dishes like their biryani bhaji balls (arancini meets biryani) and chickpea-battered okra fries with mango powder.

Bundobust Manchester Indian Street Food
Bundobust Manchester Indian Street Food
Bundobust Manchester Indian Street Food
Bundobust Manchester Indian Street Food

Some of Patel’s mouthwatering dishes that have earned Bundobust its peerless reputation, and which Jay Rayner has described as “uncompromising and self-confident and, above all else, clever.”

“It is one of a kind,” continues an enthused Jay Rayner, “but if there isn’t a Bundobust like this in every university town across the north of England within three years I’ll be very surprised.” As Mark and Mayur share plans for developing an express content — small units that could operate from from food fairs to train stations — it’s clear that there’s burning ambition behind this relaxed demeanour; there is no sense that Liverpool will represent a full stop, and Mr Rayner is unlikely to be too surprised by their aspirations.

Bundobust
Bundobust's Northern Quarter Neighbours
Common

Coffee and brunch by day, craft beer and burgers by night, Common is a long-standing hotspot for the neighbourhood with regular exhibitions, DJ nights, and events.

Piccadilly Records

Founded in the same year as Factory Records, Piccadilly Records has been pivotal in a sequence of Britain’s most important music scenes and, despite being almost 40 years old, is still entirely relevant today; The Vinyl Factory having dubbed it one of the best record shops in the world.

TAKK

Nordic-inspired coffee shop TAKK is the stylish result of travels throughout Scandinavia and Iceland — as they say themselves, “it’s a big fat love letter to Reykjavik … its people, and their love for the coffee bean.”

Oi Polloi

Steve Sanderson and Nigel Lawson have defined northern style at their iconic boutique Oi Polloi, teaming streetwear with outdoorsy aesthetics for a look that is quintessentially Manchester.

Siop Shop Blawd

Having made a name for itself from the basement kitchen of Common, Iwan Roberts and Lucy Jackson’s Blawd bakery make some of the city’s best cakes and doughnuts and are now serving them up alongside breakfasts and lunches at Siop Shop; their cool bakery, café, and exhibition space on Tib Street.

Fred Aldous

Fred Aldous’s story begins in 1886, and the art and craft supplies store is a true Northern Quarter icon, a stalwart of the neighbourhood’s creative scene.

Beermoth

Established in 2013, Beermoth is an independent beer shop that has been at the heart of the city’s rocketing craft beer scene, and is regularly billed as one of the country’s best.

The Butcher's Quarter

“All of our products are from the north west,” says Steve Pilkington, owner of The Butcher’s Quarter, “and we spent two years researching where everything came from to make sure it is the highest quality.” Locally-sourced and farm-assured, Pilkington’s is an inner-city butcher with some serious chops.

Port Street Beer House

Another major player in the city’s craft beer boom, Port Street Beer House opened its doors in 2011, and its owners are behind the internationally-renowned Indy Man Beer Con festival; Port Street’s beer garden is hailed as one of the city’s finest.

Bundobust

Conversation runs from curry to natural wine, the parallels between independent enterprise in Leeds and Manchester, celebrity diners (“they’re just people at the end of the day, aren’t they”) and collaborations. Once again, the duo are as happy bigging-up others as they are talking about themselves; such are the close-knit communities that surround their business.

Iwan Roberts and Lucy Jackson’s Blawd bakery (whose first café, Siop/Shop, has recently opened); the Chorlton Brewing Company; art and craft suppliers, and NQ stalwart, Fred Aldous; Piccadilly Records and craft beer aficionados like Beermoth and Port Street Beer House … it’s clear to see the pride Husak and Patel have in being a piece of a Northern Quarter that is as inspiring today as ever.

@bundobust

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