Best Falafel in London


I have recently started a new job. It is a good hospital and a better position so I am happy, but the best thing about the new hospital is the Doctor's Mess. It is one of the best in the country. There is a serviced bar serving food and nibbles from lunch till 8 pm, a help yourself nice coffee rather than the usual awful instant and best of all Gin & Tonic for £1.80. Who can complain!

Two Fridays ago I had lunch with my juniors in the mess. They suggested the Falafel meal as the best dish on the menu. At £3.50 the meal was great value for money with cous cous, hummus, salad, few olives, pita bread and falafel. Everything on the plate was great apart from the falafel; they were awful! More like cardboard balls! Dense and dry, truly awful stuff!

I didn't tell the guys I was disappointed with the meal. I thought if you are not into Middle Eastern cuisine and If the only falafel you ever tried came from a salad box or a sandwich out of a fridge this would make a decent version in comparison.

Real falafel should be crisp on the outside; light and fluffy in the inside. Falafel should never be baked in an oven. DEEP FRY is were falafel belongs. It should be freshly cooked in small patches, never reheated and never put in a fridge. Sandwiches should be made fresh to order and eaten straight away. That is the only way to enjoy falafel as God intended.


Few places in London can keep up with such high standard. Many Middle Eastern restaurants around London make a decent falafel but like most things in these restaurants it is hit or miss. One place never disappointed me, Mr Falafel in Shepherd's Bush. I can say with clear conscience this is the best falafel in London, and trust me I know my falafel. My dad is world champion in eating falafel. He would eat the stuff happily every single day of his life so we had lots of falafel in our household over the years.

Mr Falafel is located in Shepherd's Bush New Market, 5 minutes away from Westfields Shopping Centre. It started as a small kiosk at the entrance of the market but recently they moved into a shop which offered few tables to eat in and allowed them to expand the menu to include foul and hummus and experiment with new flafel sandwich combinations. The place does a brisk business around lunch time, so expect some queues of all kind of people from BBC employees to market traders.


The standard falafel sandwich comes in three sizes; small (£3), medium (£3.50) and an XL sandwich that is beyond most people ability to finish (£4.50). Arabic flat bread used as a wrap with the excellent falafel, salad, cucumber pickle, screaming fuchsia turnip pickles, tahini and optional chilli sauce. The mixed falafel sandwich is essentially the same with the addition of fried vegetables. The new sandwiches on the menu includes an added avocado, feta cheese or makdous. I haven't tried any of them so I can't comment if these combinations work or not.

Another thing you wouldn't fail to notice in this shop is hygiene. Although the shop is located in a fairly dodgy looking market, the place is spotless. Ahmed, the owner, is hygiene obsessed. He cleans his hands with alcohol gel and wears disposable plastic gloves every time he handles food. Work surface get cleaned after every batch of sandwiches he prepare. We could do with people like that in the NHS.

On a last note, the place bills itself as "The best Palestinian Falafel". As Ahmed explains in a Guardian article "We also wanted to put 'Palestinian' up on the shop. I think people are keen to hide the name; we weren't .... we felt it was important to show a more positive image - that Palestine can be about good food, not only conflict, suicide, invasion and occupation."

If you want to try real falafel, forget Falafel King, forget Just Flafs, and head to Shepherd's Bush. This place is the real deal.

Mr Falafel
Units T4 - T5
New Shepherd's Bush Market
Uxbridge Road
Shepherd's Bush
London W12 8LH

Monday - Saturday 11 am to 6 pm

29 comments:

Maysaloon said...

Great place...Maybe we can organise a meet there next time? You reckon we can sort something out before Ramadan?

Sasa said...

Wow. You've sold me. I'm going there this lunchtime. I'll let you know about my first experience of proper felafel in the west this evening!! Exciting!

Natalya said...

Mmmmm sounds great ... am going to drag husband and will try the makdous. I love makdous

abufares said...

What matters to me is the passion beyond your words.

I just had a full lunch, fish no less, then read this post of yours. I can't wait to get hungry again. Falafel for dinner it is.

Kano said...

Thank you very much guys. I appreciate the nice comments.

Enjoy your falafel and let me know what do you think.

Gastro1 said...

Will have to try very soon as rarely have I had decent Flalafel or Tamiya outside the Sham or Egypt !

Kano said...

@gastro1

you should. this place is really excellent.

Not Delia said...

Hi Kano, I just found your blog via UKFBA. I'm impressed! I'll add you to my blog roll.

Meanwhile I'm going to look in your mezze section as I've a family party, including some vegetarians, to cook for soon.

Allie said...

Oh my. I was completely full from my lunch before I read this. Falafel is just so wonderful. I've only ever found decent falafel in Houston, but nothing that makes me want to eat there constantly. Now I feel renewed to keep searching!

Kano said...

@Not Delia
Welcome to my blog and thank you for the lovely words. How does the mezze looks like? anything you fancy?

@Allie
I am sure you will find some great Falafel in America. You haven't looked hard enough :)

amy said...

I so wish I lived in London. Falafel is my absolute favorite!

Kano said...

@amy
welcome to my blog.
where about do you live? you must have falafel somewhere. Syrians and Lebanese are all over the place :)

Anonymous said...

What a great blog, I am married to a true Syrian by heart. And are busy learning more about the traditional food. Specially now over the Ramadan period. I love the food and the combinations of lemon juice. Your recipies are easy to follow and I am looking forward to your next recipies.

Amanda

Kano said...

@Amanda
Welcome to my blog and I am glad you are enjoying the recipes. I hope you try some of them and you and your husband enjoy them.
There will be few Ramadan special recipes so watch this space.

wgaw said...

good tamiya in london YEE-HA i'm there

Kano said...

@wgaw
wooooow... this is no Tamiya, this is falafel :)
Joking aside, I had Egyptian broad bean tamiyah few times when I was a kid in Saudi Arabia but not since. May be I should try it again and give it a fair chance.

Su-Lin said...

I've always passed the Market but never tried that falafel place - thanks for the review!

Kano said...

@Su-Lin
Welcome to my blog. Next time you are there make sure to stop for a falafel wrap. Excellent falafel.

Anonymous said...

I went there today with my husband and it was brilliant. HUGE falafels with delicious fillings, super fresh and very yummy. Another plus is that Ahmed is a lovely guy who obviously loves what he is doing. And yes, the place is spotlessly clean, it is gleaming, you almost need sunglasses to eat in there.
Now if he would just open a shop in Earls Court where I live...or, actually, better not, it would be murderous for my waistline.

Kano said...

@anonymous
I am glad you liked the falafel.
I agree with you, Ahmad is what makes this place special. I was saying the same to my wife the other day we had lunch there. He really looks after the place, and really proud of what he does.

Anonymous said...

can you please advise where to buy best Aleppo pepper in london??

Kano said...

@anonymous

Sorry for the late reply I was a bit busy and it gone out of my mind.

It is not an easy task to find genuine Aleppo pepper in London. Most of the Arabic shops stock one type or another of chilli flakes but I really doubt its authenticity.

The Spice Shop sells Turkish sourced Aleppo peppers which is fair enough. Their shop is in Portobello Market.

This is their website where you can order online
http://www.thespiceshop.co.uk/

Hope this is helpful

Anonymous said...

thank you very much, i bought some for a friend who had asked me for it and she said it is delicious.

Kano said...

@anonymous
You welcome.

Laila said...

I just came across your blog now, looking for a hara2 2usba3o recipe, and found this post. I'm Lebanese but live in Toronto and I'm always curious to try falafel in different countries (different ingredients, fillings, sauces etc), as very few places make a true, authentic falafel. I'm visiting London in October and I can't wait to try this place!! Thanks for the post!! Happy cooking/Ramadan!!

Kano said...

@Laila

I have been wanting to put a hara2 2esba3o recipe on the blog for over a year. I will do it. Too much going on in my life with very little time.

Try Mr Falafel, very authentic and very very good.

an lusan said...

This is a really good blog, there should be more awareness of syrian cusine , because it is awesome.

Here are some other great places to get Falafels in London
http://www.cityultima.com/London/Falafels

Jim said...

Thanks for the information, I am a big falafel sandwich fan! There were times, I would have it once or twice a week. It is a bit difficult doing that now as I am working and generally most of the restaurants I would go to are so busy over the weekend that I end up going somewhere else. I now basically reserve places through the phone or online through websites like Book a table. However, I wonder how busy is this place if it is very close to Westfield mall. I would definitely give it a try.

Jenson Leon said...

Looks Delicious! Love breakfast cafes in london to taste, can i have more pics so that i can checkout their website and visit thier patisserie.

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