There’s a new, no frills breakfast champion in town. Our team rejoices and digs deeper into the LA culture permeating Bunker Bed Breakfast Bar. By Elijah Ferrian. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Deputy editor Simon Stanley and I were recently discussing how some of these restaurants we review are so good that we’d love to simply write, “Just go. It’s amazing.” Bunker Bed Breakfast Bar is one such place, and it’s not just because they hold crown of the best damned breakfast burrito in the city.
When you are talking with the owners of an establishment that has Tupac and Bone Thugz N’ Harmony echoing out of a front and centre, ‘watch-how-we-work’ kitchen, all while a smooth crew of local guys are playing chess in the corner waiting for their meals, you know something is different about the place.
Tuan Le of Los Angeles California, by way of Vietnam, along with his girlfriend Laure Chevallier of Paris, and their Vietnamese partner Mike Pham, welcomed us to their open-air diner-style breakfast joint in a hip little neighbourhood in District 1.
“Bunker happened pretty randomly.” The owners’ words blend into each other while telling the story. “We were just having a beer at Pasteur [Brewing Company],” says Le, “and were like, ‘there’s no breakfast spot that serves non-fancy food.’”
No frills LA-style breakfast staples like their BBC Breakfast Burrito (VND95,000) paired exquisitely with American staple condiment ‘rooster sauce’ (otherwise known as Sriracha chilli sauce), plus a Saigon-elusive authentic Cubano sandwich (VND90,000), and chilli fries loaded with bacon and caramelised onion (VND60,000), made us weep in gratitude – not to leave out chicken and waffles, a spam and egg sandwich stuffed with a huge hash-brown patty, and a gang of other comfort foods that will blast you right into SoCal.
They also are providing beautifully designed rooms in their bed and breakfast rentable space, available via AirBnB. These folks have a good eye for design, and they all really seem to be cultivating the culture they speak passionately about during our sit-down lunch.
The coffee is all local. They source their beans from Vietnamese purveyors, and all the caffeinated drinks are crafted by hand, to order, in their kitchen. The lemon cold press is perfect.
“We are [creating] an urban cultural spot where you can meet cool, young people, and gain some insight into what’s going on in the city,” Pham chimes in. “My family owned [this building], and we came up with this bed and breakfast concept. We’re trying to build community here.”
You can’t help but see all of the potential for this business. Le sums it up perfectly. “We’re not just pouring batter out of a bottle,” he says. “Everything is made from scratch. We took everything we liked, like a ghetto Denny’s [diner], and we just wanted people to be able to get breakfast at 9PM. That doesn’t exist here really.”
Now it does, and we are all thankful.