I’ve never been a huge fan of falafel. An old colleague once took me to a place in Sharjah that does “the best falafel in the world!” and I found it dry, too packed with parsley, oily and pretty boring. So recently, I thought I’d give it another go and took a few colleagues to Falafel Farm, a place round the corner of my office as they’d been dying to sample it.
Falafel Farm claims to be “fresh, local & sustainable” and they also offer baked falafel which is nice for somebody like me whose girth seems to be increasing by the day. From looking online, they seemed to have a relatively healthy looking menu (if you ignore the fries!) and a good few options of vehicle for your falafel, so I was curious to give it a shot.
When we arrived, the first thing that struck us all was how beautiful the interiors were. It’s a tiny restaurant, in a back corner of Business Bay where it’s not easy to access for the general public, so we really weren’t expecting much from the design and that it’d be more of a take-away place. The walls are adorned with jars of pickled ingredients and fresh herbs, tucked in wooden box shelving. It’s all wonderfully cosy and I can imagine a lot of people in the surrounding area enjoy coming down just for a coffee as it’s a beautiful environment to work. Further research indicated it was Studio Em who did the design, so a firm definitely worthy of their status as Boutique Design Firm of the year in the recent awards (isn’t Google brilliant for research?!).
We had a look at the menu and decided to order a few nibbles and a main dish each. I opted for the quinoa salad and my colleagues all tried the wraps. It’s worth noting that they offer three types of falafel: Egyptian (that I believe is the regular falafel coated in sesame seed), Classic and Spicy, I went for the spicy and my colleagues had a mix of the other two. You also get a multitude of topping options to have with your salad/wrap so you can really tailor the dishes to your taste.
When the dish arrived, I was impressed by the size of the portion. At 25 dirhams, it was really good value and there was a healthy mix of my requested toppings (garlic hummus, baked eggplant, halloumi and pickled cabbage). The real test was would they make me a falafel convert? And oh boy they did! The falafel was plump, didn’t have the usual dryness I’ve previously experienced and the spice came through beautifully. They really were delicious with the topping combo I chose (/pats own back).
As a side dish, I tried the sumac fries and the spicy red pepper hummus. I wasn’t too keen on the hummus in all honesty, but it was more of a taste preference than it being poor (I just love a traditional hummus and sometimes feel the classics shouldn’t be changed too much!). The fries are “hand cut” and flavoursome with the sumac, however they were a touch on the soggy side and could have been done with cooking for another couple of minutes.
We managed to get in and out in about 40 minutes and all went back to the office well-fed and happy – already looking forward to our next visit.
FOOD: 12.5/15 – Very good falafel, tasty, healthy and enjoyable! Fries could do with a bit more crisp.
SERVICE: 12/15 – Food came quickly and orders were correct. It’s more of a fast-food place, so it’s not table service but any interaction was met with smiles and warmth.
DRINKS SELECTION: 3/5 – They do local water which is a big tick and they have a fair range of hot and cold drinks. A few more juices would be nice.
AMBIANCE: 4/5 – A cool environment for work and lunch.
DESIGN: 5/5 – I can’t think how they could have made such a small space feel so warm and inviting! Excellent job.
VALUE: 4.5/5 – 15 AED for the wraps and 25 AED for the generous salads offer an competitive, lunch-time option for residents and workers in the area.
CONCLUSION: The overall opinion from the group was overwhelmingly positive; Falafel Farm have got a lot of things right – an aesthetically-pleasing, warm restaurant, serving wholesome, healthy food with extremely competitive pricing. Since visiting, I’ve already ordered a couple of takeaways to the office and I hope they can maintain their excellent standards.