Restaurant: Nunu Ethiopian Fusion
Location: 1178 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 2J5
Price Range: $$
Ethiopian cuisine is something that I have never tried before, so coming to Nunu, I honestly did not know what to expect! Nunu sought itself apart from other authentic Ethiopian restaurants with its menu that serve modern-fusion dishes and targeted a higher class.
The inside of Nunu is very dark yet have a quite and relaxing atmosphere. The decor is modern, tables were set up fairly close to each other with the booth seats filled with pillows – very middle eastern style! There is also a full bar which features cocktails and draft beer as well.
Service was quite slow as there didn’t seem to be a any servers around. There was only one lady who was both the chef and server throughout the restaurant, hence the food took some time to arrive. With that said, the chef was extremely friendly and even provided us a warm hand towel at the end to wash our hands!
To be honest my friend and I had a hard time choosing what to get on the menu as it was our first time having Ethiopian food. We ended up choosing the tasting menu so we can sample the chef’s signature dishes.
We got the misto meat tasting menu, which doesn’t include the Kitfo (steak tartar) for $18 each person and everything was beautifully placed on top of two injeras, which were also used as “utensil” to scoop up the ingredients. Thus please note there would be no utensils here as you are supposed to use your hands to eat Ethiopian food.
Initially I didn’t like the injera which are Ethiopian flat-bread that had a slight sour taste and a spongy-like texture, however the more I ate, the more it grew on me. In addition, there weren’t much lentils (traditionally Ethiopian dishes are very lentil-heavy) which I think some people might appreciate.
It was a bit hard to pin point exactly where each dishes were on the plate unless you have eaten Ethiopian food before, and in general the food was well cooked. While it was tasty, I found the doro wat (chicken drumsticks) to be a tad too spicy and I wished they would have shredded the meat for us, as it got a little caveman-ish while trying to disassemble a drumstick by hand. I found the flavors in the doro alicha (chicken marinated in garlic, ginger, turmeric) to be underwhelming as the spices in the other meat dishes were stronger. Likewise, the Tibs – sirlion beef marinated in garlic, ginger, and rosemary – were quite flavorful but did not stand out as much as the doro wat.
I can only identify some of the vegetables which were beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and some pickled cabbages? In my opinion some of the vegetables dishes were leaning towards being quite bland, at the same time I appreciated the pickled cabbages and sweet potato as another means of toning down the heat from the meat dishes.
Towards the end, I realized there wasn’t enough injera for us and after some online researching, it seems authentic Ethiopian food is usually served with extra injera folded on the side, but at Nunu it costed extra.
I’m not sure what was this spicy sauce made of, I think jalapeno peppers? Nonetheless, it was extremely spicy to the point the heat became unpleasant so I didn’t really use it much.
Overall I thought the tasting menu gave us a fair idea of how Ethiopian food tasted like. For $18 per person, I think the price is quite expensive compared to other Ethiopian restaurants in the city. Would I come back? Yes, if I’m in the area, however I wouldn’t make a trip all the way to Nunu to have Ethiopian food as there are more affordable restaurants in Toronto.