Ethiopian food is known to be vegetarian friendly despite my usual choice to have meat. In the spirit of trying to get more healthy food in me, I decided to give Bunna Cafe, a vegan, Ethiopian restaurant a try for brunch. Of all the new restaurants that have opened in Bushwick in the past couple of years, Bunna Cafe is one of the best. They provide a unique and inviting experience to learn about Ethiopian culture and history-something most Westerners know little about.
According to their website, they normally have a DJ during Sunday brunch. I was disappointed when they said he may not be there on the day I came though. There’s always next time, I thought, as I looked at the menu.
I ordered the Habesha Breakfast, which was a sample of three of the main brunch items along with a minosa that was $5 for the brunch drink special. As I waited, I took in the decorations around me.
The bar itself is one of the most interesting I have seen, but I also saw the explanations on their website beforehand that allowed me to appreciate the artwork more.
The art work at Bunna Cafe resembles the churches that were built during the 12th century Zagwe Dynasty in Lalibela. Now Lalibelais the second holiest city in Ethiopia.
The art work above is the most recognized when it comes to the history of Lalibela. The rectangles represent the churches. The two shelves with the bar represent a tunnel that connects Bet Giorgis to the eastern church and River Yordanos (Jordan River).
I looked up from my phone when an aromatic blend of spices filled my nose. My food had arrived!
Duba Firfir is bits of the famous Ethiopian injera bread with squash and spices. I think this was the spiciest of the three items on the plate. The white stuff on the top is cashew ergo, a yogurt made out of cashew milk. At the bartender’s suggestion, I mixed it with the butecha to the left. Butecha has got to be the best vegan scramble ever! In fact, this ground chickpea stuffing would even be a tasty substitute for the usual bread based stuffing Americans have on Thanksgiving. The salad at the top of the plate is Kosta, which is Swiss chard. I’very never had Swiss chard before, but it reminded me of spinach. Kitan, the bread, is a toasted flatbread. Bunna Cafe also has gluten free options for bread.
This place has a lot to offer in food and cultural events. From start to finish, the people are friendly no matter how busy they get.
For dessert, I had to get a pushkin because I love White Russians. The Ethiopian drink, named after Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, is stronger than its American counterpart. I only drank one…this time!
I also learned what Bunna Cafe’s expression “everything is eshi” means. Everything is good. And with a dining experience that taught me history and language with a new take on one of my favorite cuisines, that sums up my time.
Everything was eshi.