465 Sydney Road
Coburg VI 3058
+61 3 9350 4343
Today I finished my last assignment for the semester and what did I do to celebrate? Why, left work early, tramed up Sydney Road and grabbed myself some falafels, of course!
I’m a huge fan of falafels and my favourite place to grab those crunchy balls of chickpea goodness (ooh, dirty) is at Half Moon café in Coburg. I would have gone there today but after reading Kenny’s very positive review of Abbout Falafel House, situated only a few stops away from Half Moon, I knew I had to give it a go.
With a sigh, I let the no.19 tram go past Half Moon café and got off a few stops later. In between two non-descript kebab houses sat a narrow falafel store with one table by the window and several outside getting soaked by the winter rain. I didn’t realise it upon entering the store, but the vacant room next door happened to also be part of Abbout – I’m guessing they decided to rent it after they realised that they couldn’t fit the crowds of people coming in for their falafel fix and then having no choice but to bring their falafels home as there was no room for them to sit.
It was almost deserted except for a few Middle Eastern old men and a group of skaters when I rocked up just after 2pm this afternoon. I ordered a falafel plate ($10), the dish of choice given by the number of subsequent diners who also ordered this. I also saw people ordering bowls of ful (stewed fava beans) and falafel wraps, a steal at $5 each, but the falafel plates seemed like the way to go.
The dude who served me may not have been the friendliest server on the planet (it was probably Monday-itis or he was an Essendon supporter, or both) but he did a good job of shaping the six falafel balls from scratch, frying them so that they were perfectly crunchy with nary a trace of oil and plating them with hummus, cacık, tabbouleh, olives, fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and pickled cucumber and turnips. I was also given two round pieces of baked pita bread on the side.
They were amazeballs (literally). Although I still prefer Half Moon’s fava bean falafels, Abbout’s traditional chickpea version is still pretty damn good – I would go so far to say that they’re the best chickpea falafels I’ve tasted. A vegetarian meal that not only manages to engage your tastebuds but also fill your tummy up for a measly $10? Winning. As much as I tried to, I couldn’t finish the entire thing – and I’m usually a pretty good eater despite initial appearance (I swear, I had heaps of customers do a double-take but then again, how often do they see a skinny Asian girl wolf down a falafel plate by herself?)
The tram ride to Coburg can be a long, lonely trip, especially in this weather, but I’d say it was worth it. Since then, I’ve been inspired to make my own falafels – something I’ve never tried before – and incorporate them into lunches for work. Now that would be amazeballs.