Nunu Ethiopian Fusion
Nunu 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 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.
We 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.
As 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.
We 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.
Open 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.