Look, it’s as the sign says. Louisa Allan and Shuki Rosenboim have been making falafels at the farmers’ market for years. Twice a day they grind the chickpeas grown by Allan’s dad on the Mallee, add onion, garlic and herbs. Then they jam the mixture into the “falafel gun” sent by Rosenboim’s family in Israel. Then they fry it and stuff it in a freshly baked Israeli-style pita with pickles and tahina. “We don’t do anything new. We don’t put our own spin on it,” says Allan. “It’s just how falafel is, just super-fresh.”
The friends and business partners opened the Sydney Road shopfront at the request of patrons who visited their stall and wanted falafel regularly. Designed by Caitlin Perry from Setsquare Studio, Very Good Falafel achieves the homey style to which so many restaurants aspire.
An open kitchen is the centerpiece. A wide bookcase holds turntables, Hebrew and Lebanese cookbooks, jars of hazelnuts and pink pepper. “On the morning we opened, I literally went into my living room with boxes and I packed up my cookbooks and records as if we were moving house,” says Rosenboim.
A selection of daily salads – artichoke and rocket; carrots and pomegranate; pumpkin; spinach and tulum cheese – is under glass. Home-made limonada, made with fresh lemon juice and mint, is served from a crazy contraption that dips Coke-bottles. A bowl of warm hummus comes topped with whole chickpeas and paprika, with that Moorabbin-made Israeli pita on the side.
Very Good Falafel is honest food. Allan’s family grew it, Rosenboim’s family cooked it, and they’ll make it for you in exactly the same spirit.
Very Good Falafel
629 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 9383 6479
Shuki and Louisa also have a cracker blog with very good recipes at shukiandlouisa.com/blog/.