“Is Mr Falafel an actual person?”
“How convenient would it be if your surname was ‘Falafel’ and you grew up to be somebody who makes falafel?”
“I’ve been to Mr Falafel so many times, I am practically Mrs Falafel.”
Obviously, the conversations that take place between my colleagues on the 15-minute walk from our office to Mr Falafel in Shepherd’s Bush Market are not of the intellectual variety, but they are always animated. A morning email suggesting a trip to Mr Falafel at lunchtime is always met with great excitement in all corners of the office – firstly, because the falafel is excellent, secondly, because we work in White City: Gastronomic Wasteland of London. It is always a shame when you work in one of the rare corners of London that has no decent lunch options – in my current office, and in my previous office in pre-Dirty Burger Vauxhall, I alternated between sandwich chains, ‘Express’ chains of local supermarkets and terrible cafes: all disappointing. When we discovered Mr Falafel in the summer of last year, it was like a light had shone on our lunch break.
Mr Falafel is housed in a unit situated just inside the entrance of Shepherd’s Bush Market, where they have been since 1999, however they have been at the market on various stalls “for a few years before that”. They are well-known among the locals and it is rare to turn up after 1pm and not find a queue. Once inside, you are given the choice of 12 falafel wraps, all of which come in the modest ‘medium’ or the gut-busting ‘extra-large’. The falafel is scooped and cooked fresh to order, then lightly smashed on to a flatbread containing an array of other ingredients. My favourite is the Supreme Falafel Wrap which contains hummus, tomatoes, aubergines, feta, olives, avocado and pomegranate syrup. They also make a Supreme Plus wrap which substitutes the feta for halloumi but, be warned: they don’t grill it. An essential addition to the wrap is a generous slick of their hot chilli sauce, which he (the famous Mr Falafel – who knows?) will add to the mixture with a glint in his eye. There is also a mild chilli sauce for those with a lower heat tolerance. The falafel itself is soft and perfectly spiced and the ingredients fresh and it makes for rather a delicious, if large, lunch (I have still yet to manage an XL). If you find yourself in Shepherd’s Bush one day, be sure to check it out.