The Falafel Shop, Lansdowne
Price Range (p/p)
Cheap | Under R100
The Falafal Shop is a home-based business catering to the need for halaal speciality foods.
Having come across a social media post of The Falafel Shop, I jumped at the chance to try their offerings. Plus, it’s not often we get authentic fully halaal Middle Eastern cuisine in Cape Town. Now, the reason I am not lumping this under the Mediterranean Cuisine banner is that though similar, the culinary traditions of the Middle East embody tastes and textures different from North African and European Mediterranean Cuisine.
I contacted Majd Mohamed who assists her mother, Intesar Mohamed and expressed my interest in writing a piece on their offerings. She suggested they demonstrate the process and how everything is made. And thus an amazing Saturday afternoon of Middle Eastern culinary delight was borne.
How it began
Over chatter and Arabian coffee before the meal I got the story of how The Falafel Shop began. Intesar and her family relocated from Jordan to Cape Town 23 years ago. Majd was just two at the time. Having no family or acquaintances here, they began making friends in their area as well as at their school where their father also taught. They often had friends over for a meal. A scrumptious Middle Eastern meal was laid out each time. Their friends suggested to Intesar that she start a home-based business, so they could purchase her goodies guilt-free. Intesar is an incredibly inspirational and selfless woman and she refused to accept money in exchange for any cooking requests initially. Finally The Falafel Shop sprung to life on the 1st August this year.
While chatting about the challenges of their relocation, what came out strongly was both Majd and Intesar’s love for their homeland and culture. And of course the Jordanian food. I watched as Intesar expertly moulded and fried falafel and brinjal chips. Simultaneously Majd was hustling away, brewing mint tea, cutting up veggies to dip with hummus and toasting pita bread. Majd suggests you warm the pita bread in the toaster as it helps to puff up nicely. They sell the pitas as part of their offerings too, although Intesar does not have the capacity to prepare it herself at present. She does intend to expand her selection in the near future to include labneh and babaganoush.
The taste test
Once the spread was prepared, we all sat around the table to enjoy a taste of Jordan. The falafel was some of the best I’ve tasted and had me reminiscing of the ones I had in Saudi and on the streets of London. Intesar tells me that she doesn’t believe in freezing anything and thus everything is made daily from scratch. This comes through in the taste of the falafel and hummus. The falafel was perfectly crunchy on the outside and had a beautiful nutty flavour. The hummus was wholesome and tasty. It was also fresh and full, one can tell nothing has been skimped on. In fact, it has survived in my fridge for almost a whole week.
Intesar goes on to demonstrate how they prepare the pita breads with the filling. She rubs the inside of the pita bread with hummus and then added the falafel, suggesting you should flatten the falafel in the pita. The brinjal chips were added next. One could also add the plain mince which is a popular item in Jordan. However, my sole focus was on the yummy falafel so I stuck to that as the main filling. We then had a choice of adding a mixed salad of finely chopped tomato, cucumber and peppers or tzatziki (which in Jordan is called Laban). Last, but not least we added shatta, which was the piece de resistance. I couldn’t believe a tiny tub of chillies could take the experience to a whole new level. Majd says it is not well known in Cape Town but they absolutely have to have it with their meals. She tells me one can call it a chilli sauce of sorts. At R10 a pop, I strongly recommend that you don’t leave without this little tub of goodness.
To round off we were treated to soothing mint tea with tasty Middle Eastern biscuits called ma’mool, filled with either nuts or dates. The ma’mool were melt in your mouth and so flavourful. I do hope she adds these to her menu soon. I had a truly memorable afternoon of learning and tasting. What I do know is that I will most definitely be back for more. Putting together a home-made Middle Eastern meal has never been this easy. What’s going through my mind is, when is the next birthday or event so I can incorporate all this and give my guests the same delightful taste of the Middle East I had.
But what does it cost?
The Falafel mixture, hummus, shatta and pita breads are available on order at least 24 hours in advance. The Falafel mixture ranges from R25-R80 and the hummus ranges from R30-R100 depending on your choice of size. The shatta and pitas can be purchased for R10 and R20 respectively. The goodies can be collected in Lansdowne. They take Whatsapp orders on 083 362 9864.
Accountant by profession, writer at heart. Avid traveller, adrenaline junkie and bookworm.
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life”- Rumi
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