The cauliflower hummus bowl at Nura Hummus and Falafel Bar. Photo by Meredith Goad

When the newspaper offices were in Portland’s One City Center, my colleagues and I used to visit the bakery at One Monument Square for the best peanut butter cookies in town. Recently I returned, only this time it was for something completely different: a cauliflower hummus bowl.

Nura, a new hummus and falafel bar – from the brothers behind the Falafel Mafia food truck – that opened in the old bakery space last month, has a fairly simple menu, but it’s offering something downtown office workers clearly want: more healthful alternatives to the usual burger or sandwich. The space is clean and efficient, with six tables for four and lots of counter seating. Decor is minimalist – just a few hanging plants – and the music is set at just the right level so it’s not annoying. The large picture windows make the restaurant a great spot for people watching.

The menu includes falafel pockets and platters, hummus bowls, salads, sides (shawarma fries, pita and falafel) and drinks. Tax is already included in the price. A pocket costs $10 and comes with hummus, cabbage, cucumber, tahini and a sauce of your choice, such as spicy harissa. Add-ons, for $1 each, include beets, pickled onion, pickles and extra falafel or extra sauce. The hummus bowls range from $10 to $13 and include tahini with olive oil ($10), avocado with peanut and spicy harissa ($13), and roasted tomato with feta cheese and spicy za’atar ($12), though the owners plan to change up the offerings. I ordered the cauliflower bowl ($13) with hazelnut, dukkah and sauteed onion. Combined with a cup of chai and 20 percent tip, my lunch tab came to just under $20.

The hummus in my bowl was light, creamy and delicious, and came with five triangles of pita bread. I really wanted to try the falafel as well and started to order it as a side, but noticed the side serving contains eight pieces for $7. Not only was this way too much food, I just couldn’t justify raising my total lunch bill to $27 and didn’t realize I could have ordered it by the piece from the add-ons section.

I arrived right when it opened at 11 a.m. I was literally the first customer, I believe, and it still took 20 minutes to get my order. I chalked the wait up to the fact that the first chai of the day was being made (even though one of the guys behind the counter said it would take just 5 minutes). People who came in after me got their orders first, and even though I waited so long, the chai was still weak.

Still, I felt good about the quality of my lunch. Much better for me, although I do still miss those peanut butter cookies.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.