It’s 2 pm sharp on a Sunday afternoon and a mixed bag of about a dozen people crowd around the entrance of a sleek new apartment building. A young resident pushing a baby stroller examines the scene with twisted brows before entering. We have arrived at Anafe, a pop-up puerta cerrada hybrid that recently inaugurated their new home, an airy 8th-floor studio apartment designed to look and feel like a familial comedor.
Along the walls are lines of cookbooks that vary drastically in subject and geography—Phaidon’s Peru, Tartine Café’s bible to bread and Massimo Botturo’s Italian cookbook. A small table off to the side houses a rainbow of fruit preserves. Canteen tables laminated in banana yellow are decorated with small glasses of fresh flowers and a view of the Colegiales’ skyline.
Founders and cooks Mica Najmanovich and Nico Arcucci work non-stop behind the long open bar quietly calling out plates that need to be refilled for their banquet style brunch. Mismatched sets of over-sized bowls and platters are decorated with a rotating set of nearly a dozen different dishes. She is Jewish and spent time in Australia. He spent part of his childhood in Spain with his Italian family. All of these family histories blend together and make a meal that feels like half a dozen tias from around the world got together for a Sunday feast—and they refuse to let you leave hungry.
Faina painted in tomato sauce screams with a loud crunch and spills over with notes of butter and anchovy. Tender lengua is sliced thin and painted with green aguachile and lettuce rather than the traditional vinaigrette. Papas rosti are generously flavored with thick dollops of dill cream. Thick squares of potato are roasted and topped with scrambled egg and baked ham. Pops of mustard move up and down the tongue and gave me a burst of nostalgia for a post-Thanksgiving breakfast loaded with horseradish. A bushel of greens overflow with bitter leaves of kale, arugula and beet leaves dripping with thick caesar dressing.
Slow-cooked roast beef pulls everyone in the room from their chairs. The thinly sliced meat had juicy streaks of pink down the middle and was emptied from its dish before the steam disappeared. It was enjoyed with a sweet pumpkin puree. Shwarma is served al plato—it’s not the prettiest dish on the table but is filled with a deeply layered set of spices heightened by bursts of pomegranate. Fresh bread by sourdough master Francisco Seubert of Atelier Fuerza is available to build makeshift sandwiches or sop up the juices as per your preference.
For dessert, the star of the show was a white layer cake smothered in a cream cheese filling and marmalade. A close second was a budín de pan with charitable scoops of dulce de leche.
In addition to Sunday’s all you can eat brunches, Anafe is open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday with food a la carte alongside one-off pop-up dates in restaurants of friends, like Sheikob’s Bagels and Koko BaoBar, and unusual locations like paper factory Papelera Contemporanea and furniture store Tito Livio.
Address: Colegiales, exact address confirmed with reservation
Open: Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings; Sunday brunch
Price per person: Dinner, approximately $500-550; brunch $450 fixed all you can eat, drinks sold separately