If you’ve ever though to yourself, “this bun needs more chickpeas”, then we’ve got news for you. Early next year Bunbar, a burger bar that uses falafel “bread” (among other things) instead of traditional buns, will open in Manly.

Oporto co-founder Gary Linz (who sold his portion of the Portuguese-chicken chain in 2005) and his business partners Deanna Bechara and Stephen Grant are launching the eatery on Manly’s Darley Street as a healthy fast-food alternative.

The group has worked with Middle Eastern cuisine experts (we asked, but they were tight-lipped on who exactly) to perfect the falafel buns and balance elements such as moisture, flavour and texture, while ensuring the buns are stable enough to hold fillings without falling apart.

The falafel ’burg – which the team reckons is the first of its kind in Australia – is entirely plant-based and there are two vegan wrap options as well (“chicken” and “beef”). “Falafel and burgers are two of the most popular street foods in the world,” the team tells Broadsheet. “When we were looking into a vegetarian option, the idea of a falafel patty was put forward first. It evolved into the concept of a falafel bun.”

Two other Bunbar specialties are grilled rice buns, which have been created with a helping hand from Japanese chefs, and the Soft AF bun, a twist on steamed bao.

“The Soft AF bun was one of those amazing mistakes,” the team says. “Our baker was playing around with a traditional bao bun recipe and, out of curiosity, put the mixture in the oven, instead of steaming it – the Soft AF bun was born.”

The rice and Soft AF buns will enclose beef patties and grilled chicken tenders. Skin-on fries, falafel bites and Southern-fried chicken bites will also be on the menu. For drinks, expect pre-made Sofi spritzes, Young Henrys and Asahi beer on tap, Bone Dry rosé, cocktails and vegan chocolate smoothies.

Bunbar is slated to open in January 2020.

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