Falafel Friday: week one
As a vegan in a new city, seeking out places to eat can be a challenge. But there’s one dish that I’m pretty much guaranteed to be able to find: falafel. For years it’s been a staple of mine, from take-aways to street stalls to restaurants. So, how will Bristol shape up in the falafel stakes? Being the greeny, hippy-type place it’s reputed to be I have high hopes. Here begins #FalafelFriday, a weekly search for the best in deep-fried fava beans and chick peas.
Day one of this new adventure doesn’t begin so well, my first Friday in Bristol seeing me wandering the streets in frustration at the apparent lack of falafel. I don’t know Bristol very well yet, and while I could turn to the internet for help, I had a rather romantic notion of exploring. So far it’s not turned up the goods. I wander up Victoria Street but there’s not much to be found, just a few pubs and newsagents set amongst the office blocks. The handful of street stalls here are closed. All is quiet in St Nick’s market. The flashing neons of kebab houses signal nothing but disappointment – no falafel on the menu. I eventually find one hidden down a narrow street. It’s a small, simple kebab restaurant with the regulatory columns of meat slowly turning on their spit. I’m the only customer. Do you have falafel? He nods. With hummus? No. His assistant heads out to the local Tesco. I sit and wait beneath the garish strip lighting with grease filling my nostrils.
Hummus purchased, falafel cooked, oddly enough in the microwave. Two largish pieces of the good stuff are smashed onto the wrap, covered with loads of kebab-style salad, which I love: cabbage, onions, cucumber, tomato. No sauce for me. Expertly rolled with a napkin to catch the drips. £4 and the wrap is handed over.
I walk along the waterfront and sink my teeth in. It’s good: great flavour and variety from all the salads, though I’m not sure about the key ingredient – it could have done with being crisped in the frier rather than heated in the microwave. Also, all the falafel is on one side so I have to be very creative with my biting in order to get a mixed mouthful. Not the worst falafel wrap I’ve ever had, though, and I appreciate the effort they went to. And not a bad price. A solid 3/5.