In 2015, when Vanessa Rivera and Gian Carlo Accinelli decided to forgo a wedding to open a small café in West Kendall, Miami was seeing a number of Peruvian sandwich spots open from downtown to North Miami Beach.
Now the pair is taking their hit shop east, into the Downtown Dadeland space currently occupied by Niven and Shivani Patel and Tim Piazza's Italian spot, Erba.
Fret not. Erba will reopen in a nearby permanent space weeks after Mr. & Mrs. Bun moves into the spot in mid-February, but Miami being the banana republic it is, bureaucracy could stymie their best efforts. So if you haven't had a chance to try Patel and Piazza's pasta, the time is now.
Afterward, however, the space will still be worthy of a visit, particularly because of the puffy homemade buns Accinelli prepares in small batches throughout the day. Here, however, he'll also offer the buns steamed, similar to those hot puffy rolls often found on dim sum carts.
They'll hold sandwich fillings such as the pollo chi jau kay ($9.99), made with a pair of fried chicken thighs tossed in a salty-sweet combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and Chinese five-spice powder for a chifa — or Chinese-Peruvian — flair, along with a knot of the spicy slaw called encurtido. There's also a butifarra ($9.99) with cured and braised pork, aioli sauce, and salsa criolla alongside caja china-roasted pork belly with fried sweet potatoes and cevichada mayo ($11.99).
The menu has also expanded in recent years to include ají de gallina empanadas ($5.99) and bacon-wrapped tamals ($10.99), served with piquant chalaca sauce. Still, the highlight is that bread.
Before opening, Accinelli experimented with an array of doughs. Focaccia, baguette, and ciabatta were all tested but never felt right. So on a whim, he pulled all three together.
“It’s like a mixture of cultures — that’s why we call it cholo,” Rivera says. Their bubbly crusts offer a slight crunch. The spongy interior is a good medium for soaking up the juices that ooze out of each sandwich's filling and might have you wondering whether your next burger should be tucked into one of them if only you could persuade Accinelli to sell you a few.
Mr. & Mrs. Bun. 15572 Sunset Dr., Miami; 786-717-6244; mrandmrsbuns.com. Opening in mid-February at 8975 SW 72nd Pl., Miami.
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