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Bundu Khan (Restaurant)

Picture of Bundu Khan in Brick Lane, London

43 Commercial Street, Near Brick Lane, Brick Lane, London, E1 6BD
Cuisine: Pakistani
Tel: 020 7375 2595 | Email to Bundu Khan | Transport: Aldgate East | Write review

Bundu Khan Review

Best for: Non alcoholic Pina Coladas and Mojitos. So good they taste alcoholic.

Great: Bihari Boti Kababs – lamb that melts-in-the-mouth in a tremendous and quite unexpected way.

Fresh from the disheveled backstreets of a sleeping Petticoat Lane market, I open the doors to Bundu Khan, leading me into wealthy Lahore. It’s early evening in the City of Gardens and while many are still promenading, a few patrons have already made their way between stone pillars to tables dotted between imposing marble slabs and delicate flower arrangements. The obligatory fluorescent East London curry house lights adorn one window, but in a muted, reassuringly unnoticeable way. A dashing chandelier denotes the wealthy finery of a traditional family eatery, expanded and relocated to London’s curry district.

Bundu Khan’s inception is as interesting as its menu and proud as its patron. Born on the streets of the Pakistani capital, the décor, staff, and food are a cut above the majority of its curry-mile Brick Lane neighbours. Despite myself being a self-appointed curry connoisseur, there are dishes littering the menu that I have never heard of, let alone tried. Exotic, meatier, with a subtler hit of chili spice, the Pakistani dishes beat the hell out of the UK’s traditional take-away Indian slop.

Though a BYO (for the optional comfort and peace of mind of one’s wallet) like many surrounding it, Bundu Khan’s reputation for fabulous non-alcoholic cocktails precedes it, and the sounds of rattling ice and mashing mint are soon silenced as glasses of virgin Pina Colada and Mojito clink onto the table, to leave us marvelling at the ingredients, specifically the lack of one rather important one.

The opportunity to order an array of dishes I’ve never seen listed before gets the better of me and we send the kitchen into a frenzy, with a request for a little of almost everything. The stand-out star of our Tandoori starters was the Bihari Bori Kabab; small pieces of succulent lamb, marinated in traditional spices that do more than just melt in one’s mouth. These morsels become part of your tongue, delivering a lush hit of flavour with their extraordinary texture.

The curries that follow are highly spiced but not blow-your-mouth-off hot. They’re traditional Pakistani - no Vindaloo or Madras here - and incomparable with other curries. Many, we learn, are specific to this restaurant. The homemade naans are warm and sticky with oil: the Peshwari oozing sweet almonds; the plain, buttery version enough to be eaten alone.

The waiting staff have been ever attentive, so much so that our order for dessert gets taken twice. I’m breathlessly full and one dessert seems impossible, let alone two. I look around to see we’re not the only table being treated to the history of the food, the menu and the restaurant chain itself. We sneak a brief peak through the kitchen hatch at the chef geniuses, pinching and pouring hundreds of herbs and spices without a measuring spoon in sight.

Evidently, a sugar rush to round off the meal is non-negotiable and I tuck into a collection of puds; thick almond-based Kulfi ice cream that manages to be both creamily heavy and palate-clearingly gentle. A carroty mush combined with honey called Gjar Halwa is far better tasting than it looks or sounds.

The food is disconcertingly – for a critic – faultless. The service, too, is impeccable. Yet the sumptuous décor, which seems at odds with its Commercial Street location, is a worry. With its imposing façade, Bundu Khan is not yet going to tempt in the large groups that trample East in search of a Korma on a Saturday night. Yet the chandelier, marble pillars and that neon lighting give it a slightly confused feeling that it might like to try and entice them. Calm, suave and sophisticated - albeit with neon - this is a restaurant to be told about and to recommend, rather than one to stumble upon.

With every breath a challenge, I fear my cycle home will be quite a test, even if those glass doors from which I emerge miraculously pour me out onto East London’s emptying weeknight streets, rather than the hot dusty crowds of bustling Lahore.

And I promise myself, the next time I’m on Brick Lane, being forcibly ushered round the corner by over zealous waitermen offering the carrot of free wine and popadums, I will be strong and resist. Only a few minutes walk away is an oasis of culinary adventure and a tranquil atmosphere that is reinventing the experience of going for a curry with calm pomp.
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Customer Reviews for Bundu Khan

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Bundu Khan.

“Good family resturent.Good and friendly staff.Authentic tasty Pakistani cuisine and very good quality ingredients.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
tariq mehmood, london (8 years 3 days ago)

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