We’ve been singing the praises of Bunna Cafe (1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn) since it opened — not only was the place a killer vegan entrant into the New York restaurant industry, it turns out one hell of an Ethiopian feast in a city that’s short on representatives from that country. So despite the occasionally slow service and long-time lack of a liquor license (that’s been remedied now — you can get beer, wine, and all manner of drinks), we found ourselves returning frequently. And this weekend, we were delighted to be given another reason to drop in: the cafe just debuted brunch.
Stopping by in the morning gives you a good excuse to drink the thick, black Ethiopian coffee the place purveys, and you’ll need at least a cup to steel yourself for the inevitable wait for your food. (Brunch seemed to move even slower than dinner, so something to note if you’re the hangry type.)
Choose from a list of four savory and two sweet entrees (all priced below $10), each of which comes sided with kita, a flat, chewy naan-like bread that’s been pan-fried until it blisters. Our leaps and bounds favorite item on the menu was the ful, a deeply savory fava bean stew loaded with tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. Close seconds included the chechebsa — teff bread so soaked in earthy, spicy berbere it begins to resemble meat in both appearance and texture — and butecha, a vegan scramble made with chickpea, onions, pepper, garlic, and ginger.
The power move here, though, is to order one (or both, if you’re dining in a group) of the combinations ($12 to $14), which nets you most of the dishes on the regular menu. The special ful gets you the fava beans, the scramble, and cashew ergo, a cashew milk yogurt; the habesha breakfast comes loaded with that berebere-soaked bread, the scramble, and garlicky swiss chard.
You could supplement your order with some home fries; we opted for an espris selata, a sweet, fresh blend of chunks of papaya, mango, and avocado, the solid version of a layered juice drink the restaurant sells.
This is food that expands in your stomach and will kill a hangover, by the way, and it makes a good alternative to the monotonous parade of eggs benedict and French toast you’ll find in most establishments.
It’s worth a trip. Even if it’s cash only. And even if you have to wait longer than usual for your food.