Save the airfare and get your next Fijian fix with a feast at Bula Vinaka at Red Hill a newly opened cafe serving mouthwatering Fijian Indian food.
After way too long, the Ithaca Bowls Club / Red Hill Community Sports Club now has a new café where you can stop on your morning walk or meet up with family and friends.
Dog and child-friendly, this popular spot is now regaining its place in the hearts of locals courtesy of a young couple of former teachers who are following their dream in hospitality.
Working with their strong connection and love of Fiji, owner-operators Manshika Singh Furminger and husband James have established an exciting mix of food cultures at Bula Vinaka.
Along with tried and true café favourites, you’ll find Fijian gems cooked straight from family recipes. The flavours are intriguing and offer something new to eager food lovers.
The café’s extensive open grounds are particularly suitable for dogs, and they provide plenty of water bowls for thirsty pups.
There is a lot of room for children to run around as well and the corner lounge comes complete with toys for extra entertainment.
A warm hello
Anyone who has visited Fiji would be familiar with the words Bula and Vinaka.
You’ll hear Bula (pronounced as boolah) shouted enthusiastically around many resorts as staff great visitors during the day. Sometimes it sounds like a shouting competition, but it’s just a way to greet people and say hello. It means you wish them life.
Vinaka, meaning thank you, is the second most common Fijian word you will hear in Fiji, a country where people have not forgotten how to be polite.
The Fijian theme continues with the quirky café numbers where Manshika and James couldn’t resist releasing their inner teachers to help everyone learn how to count in Fijian!
Something to drink?
The menu includes a wide range of coffee (they use Campos beans) with a choice of soy, almond or lactose-free milk.
The tea menu is equally generous with nine varieties from which to choose, and there’s a wide range of milkshake and smoothie flavours too.
Want something sweet with your tea/coffee? You are in luck at Bula Vinaka because they have a wide selection of goodies starting with healthy treats like bliss balls and gluten-free triple choc brownies.
There’s plenty for a sugar hit too with red velvet and banoffee cupcakes on offer.
Check the daily specials on the blackboard to see what’s new on the menu. When I visited there was fruit toast, a ham and cheese croissant, pancakes with Nutella or maple syrup and noodle cakes with home-made relish and chickpea salad.
I saw some acai bowls being delivered to eager patrons and they looked fabulous presented in coconut bowls with coconut shells. Bula Vinaka uses an organic acai topped with crunchy granola, coconut and fresh fruit.
Four dishes really speak of the owner’s Fijian connection. There are some slightly spicy, fried spinach pakora fritters that combined with chickpea flour and served with a tamarind sauce.
The bula breaky wrap has a piquant combination of Fijian Indian style eggs with house-made mango relish and a strip of smokey bacon.
The noodle cakes infused with coriander and chilli and served with the house favourite chickpea salad is another winner.
There’s also a Fijian style chicken curry served with rice which is on my list to try next time, and I’ve seen coconut burfi and gulaab jamun on the menu too.
Where is Bula Vinaka?
Find Bula Vinaka at the Ithaca Bowls Club / Red Hill Community Sports Club on Fulcher Road, Red Hill just near the Broncos Club House and playing fields.
There is heaps of off-street parking here if you want to slip in for a cheeky coffee on the way to your destination.
The café is open week mornings from 6 am until 12 noon. On weekends it closes at 2 pm.