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Restaurants

Nunu Ethiopian Fusion

Posted by Elizabeth / Reviewed on October 10, 2009 / review policy

Nunu Ethiopian Fusion RestaurantNunu Ethiopian Fusion isn't your traditional Ethiopian restaurant. Found two doors down from Addis Ababa near Queen and Northcote, the just opened eatery is owned and operated by a woman named Nunu who just so happens to be the sister and former business partner of Addis Ababa's Aster Belayneh.

The name Nunu literally translates as "come, come", and that's just what Nunu and her husband would like you to do. The stark, modern interior beckons to the street through the floor-to-ceiling front windows, but at first glance it's easy to see why you might not imagine a traditional Ethiopian menu here.

Nunu Ethiopian FusionNunu wanted me to know right away that they don't actually serve "fusion" cuisine, and she was absolutely right. Instead, the kitchen combines traditional Ethiopian dishes with a modern presentation. On the menu there's some not-so-traditional Ethiopian fare like couscous and brunch (under $10). But there's also the standard sharing dishes (at $17 per person). For singles or non-sharing diners, the menu also boasts a selection of meat and vegetarian offerings.

Nunu Ethiopian FusionWe started with little-old-lady made Sambusa, which is similar to a Samosa minus the potato and veg. The pastry was savory and the filling was delicately spiced. Paired with a yogurt dip, it provided just the right amount of heat and refreshment for the start of our meal.

The main attraction was Misto Misto (top photo), a shared dish with no less than 13 items to mop up with the giant, homemade and very delicate Injera. Chicken, lamb, curry, tripe, red lentils in mustard, and roast beets were just a few of the items circled around a fresh and garlicky green salad. The flavours were complementary, warm and rich, clearing pointing to the freshness of the ingredients. Nunu sources locally as much as possible, and nothing comes in tins.

Nunu EthiopianAs our unbelievably friendly hosts brought out their vacation slides of their latest trip to the homeland we enjoyed a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, complete with presentation of the roast beans and typical frankincense.

Nunu EthiopianWe capped off the meal with a fresh mixed berry trifle and a peach trifle with custard and cream. The dedication to the honesty of the food was apparent when they shared with me that they had actually hand picked each of the peaches themselves from a friend's farm down in Grimsby.

Nunu EthiopianOpen from 11 in the morning until 12 at night, at Nunu you can find something to suit any mood, from brunch, to mid-afternoon coffee with free Wi-Fi, to a full-on traditional dinner feast. Here you can expect honest, unpretentious food in a casual setting, despite appearances from the street.

Discussion

15 Comments

Tom / October 15, 2009 at 12:10 pm
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Do you have idea if they are gluten-free?

Traditionally, injera is made with teff flour, which is gluten-free. However, any Ethiopian restaurant I've been to in the city has used wheat-based flour for their injera. I'd love to find one that had options for those with sensitive tummies.
Elizabeth / October 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm
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Tom, they did tell me that they make everything traditionally and mentioned teff flour, so I would definitely check it out. However, you might want to confirm with the kitchen before you dig in, just in case I misunderstood.
Kevin replying to a comment from Tom / October 15, 2009 at 01:40 pm
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Tom, you may also want to check M&B Yummy Vegetarian farther west on Queen. When I chatted with the owner she said her injera was teff only.
Dan / October 15, 2009 at 11:00 pm
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(Thanks for these comments on gluten-free injera! Not to derail the thread, but please post if you know any other places in Toronto that might have such a thing!)
Tom replying to a comment from Kevin / October 15, 2009 at 11:06 pm
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Thanks for the suggestion! I'm adding both Nunu and M&B to my list of places to check out.
over here / October 15, 2009 at 11:43 pm
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Sounds like I might be making my here. I'll derail a little more. Whatever happened to blogTO's interactive map?
Craig replying to a comment from Elizabeth / October 16, 2009 at 01:38 pm
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Hi

Does Nunu have a location in Ottawa? UC!
joan / October 19, 2009 at 02:23 pm
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not open mondays. at least not for lunch...
Chris replying to a comment from joan / October 21, 2009 at 01:20 pm
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If you came last monday Nunu and I were getting married!

We open at 3 on mondays - we decided to open a little later on mondays to let us catch up with banking etc. Otherwise its 11am to 12pm everyday. Yes we can do %100 teff injera but you have to ask us a couple days before hand - it takes a couple days to ferment. We don't normally do it as most people (ethiopians included) prefer to have some flour. We will also be experimenting with other gluten free flour. Using pure Teff doesn't come out exactly as in Ethiopia even with flour imported directly - must have to do with the water? It can't be technique as I have tasted Nunu's injera here and in Ethiopia!

Our phone is 647 351 6868 (nunu)

Vickie / October 31, 2009 at 09:57 pm
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I just ate at Nunu for the first time tonight. My boyfriend and I decided to check it out after reading about it in NOW magazine. We loved EVERYTHING about our experience at Nunu. From the delicious, varied flavours of the misto plate (meat and veggie a mixture of many of their dishes)to the warm reception from the owner/chef. We felt instantly at home in her restaurant. We will definitely be going back - and we highly recommend trying Nunu!
Bellismo / February 18, 2010 at 04:02 pm
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This sounds/looks interesting. I go on BlogTo to find restaurants of different cuisines. And i certainly haven't tried Ethiopian, i will definately go and have a taste :D
lisa / March 9, 2011 at 06:54 pm
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well i have been to sheba ethiopian resturant on college st. And i know that they have teff injear every thursday.However if you call ahead of time i know they can arrange some for you.
Amrita / April 25, 2011 at 02:54 pm
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We went to Nunu a few weeks ago with a friend and had an amazing meal. Chris and Nunu are wonderful hosts and the food was delicious. We had the platter - a mix of vegetarian and meat dishes. My friend has been to Ethiopia and said this was the best food she has had. The place gets busy on the weekends so best to be relaxed about the speed of service and just give yourself time to let the food digest...
sarah / November 2, 2012 at 03:51 pm
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WORST restaurant!!! had a horrible experience here! I ordered a salad for $8, it came and it was no joke- 7 pieces of lettuce. It looked like side salad, not even. I told the lady it looked small and she said its too bad I ordered it. I had to pay, they really don't have very good customer service skills or good portions. total rip off!
SYH / April 8, 2013 at 10:27 am
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While the food at Nunu's was great, and we really enjoyed it The service and the fact that the person taking my reservations forgot to mention to me that they dont like large groups coming in there, that there is a $4 serving fee per person for cake, even when you bring in the cake on your own, and the hostess forgot to mention that she didnt know how to divide our bills or that they needed to divded them. (mind you hostess 101 is to ask a large group how the billing will be paid upon sitting down at the table to make it smooth for everyone involved).

after everyone had left she comes up to me with a additional $44 that she said was unpaid? by who we dont know cause everyone paid there bill and when i called everyone to ask what they paid for, what everyone ate is what they paid for, but we still had to pay for services that the hostess could not explain to us.

I WILL NEVER be coming back there, there are tons of ethopian restaurants in the area, we are fortunate to live in a city where we have choice. The terrible service from the hostess and the managers in resolving the issue, I wont be recommending this place and will be telling everyone NOT to go back.

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