Review: Just Falafel, Covent Garden

The original
Is that a purple turnip pickle I spy?

Aaaaaages ago, I popped down to Covent Garden for the opening of Just Falafel. I’m a big fan of falafel if they’re well-made and I liked the concept of a vegetarian fast food chain. Falafel are already staple fast food across Sweden – being the quick /drunken snack of choice among vegetarians (of which there are copious amounts or so my vegetarian Swedish ex-boyfriend assures me). I personally find it quite interesting that a chickpea ball from the Middle East has spread so widely, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Just Falafel serve up a variety of falafel wraps with a variety of sides such as salad, chips or hummus. As you might have guessed, this is no pure export project – given that it originates from Abu Dhabi – but contains a bizarre mix  of themed falafel wraps, ranging from Greek (with tzatziki) to Japanese (ginger, Japanese mayo). I went for the ‘Original’ which contains mint, turnip pickles and tahina dressing.

Although it’s a take-out place, there are a couple of narrow counter-style seats by the window where you can settle down and tackle your food with a modicum more decorum than shovelling it in whilst walking.

I have to say that the falafel exceeded my expectations – much less dry and far more flavoursome than I had anticipated – and I really enjoyed the turnip pickles despite myself. In fact, at £3.49 for a sandwich and £4.99 for a meal, I would possibly indulge again – beats a Pret sandwich by miles. (Let’s judge by London prices and not cry over how little falafel cost in the Middle East.)

However, the unexpected satisfaction from my quick visit was marred by the hummus/houmous. I have never tasted anything so ridiculously salty other than seawater itself. Avoid.

If you really fancy some hummus/houmous – and I mean, really awesome hummus/houmous – I’ll let you in on a sneaky secret and one of my cheap ‘al desko’ lunches. Go to Tesco and buy the sweet red pepper or caramelised onion houmous. You can get two for £1.80 so try both. They are *insanely* good. Then buy a mini-granary baguette for £0.45. Divide in half and eat with half a pot. That’s a really tasty, if bread-heavy, lunch for 67.5p! Of course, supplement with fruit/salad 😉

Fast food falafel!
Fast food falafel!

Author: Phoebe Amoroso

Phoebe Amoroso is a Tokyo-based reporter, multimedia journalist and storyteller. Hailing from the UK, she moved to Japan in 2014 and has since been shouting about the country to all who will listen. She divides her time between covering breaking news and producing feature stories for TV; writing about everything from business and tech to food and travel; and guiding hungry visitors who want to sample the best of Japanese cuisine. When not working and/or eating, she can often be found running up a mountain or cycling by the sea.

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