Umi Falafel is a brand new falafel bar on Dame Street, opposite the Olympia Theatre. It opened last week and before shooting a gig (Bonobo photos here!) I went in with my brother to see what they were about. It was only when I overheard the waitress say that they’d been open for just 2 days that I realised reviewing the place as they were still teething was probably unfair. (I recently read that there’s an unspoken rule not to review restaurants until they’ve been open a month). However, the meal we had was delicious, so no harm done! The fact that it’ll probably be even better next time is a great incentive for me to re-visit.
Upon sitting we were given a small bowl of olives and welcomed warmly by the waitress who was both friendly and attentive during the meal. She was at pains to point out that any and all feedback would be listened to and that they were really keen to take all advice on board. She also recommended that we get the feta and spinach filo rolls which were incredible, so she won us over easily!
Flavour: 8.5/10 There’s a choice of falafels – the Palestinian (in a pitta/’pocket’) or the Lebanese (in a wrap). Both come with different fillings but the same falafel. The falafel was lovely – warm, crunchy and a decent sized portion. It tasted nice and fresh.
Fillings & Sauces: 8/10 The Palestinian falafel came with an interesting seslction of fillings – hummus, tomato, fried aubergine, pikcles and a chili sauce. They worked well together but it was a little dry. The Lebanese falafel came with a tahini sauce and no aubergine and was also tasty but a touch on the dry side. We mentioned it to the waitress and to the chatty manager when paying. He said it’s always difficult to get the amount of sauce right – not wanting to flood the food but avoiding it being dry as well… I recommend a sauce on the side approach for those who like a saucier falafel! Speaking of sides, the Batata Hara were amazing. Don’t miss out!
Presentation & Value: 8/10 Both falafels were neatly and simply presented (as were the side dishes we ordered). I’m not a big fan of parceled food but it did help with the tidy eating of it. And at a steal of €6 for each falafel the value was obvious.
Overall Rating: 8/10 I was really impressed with Umi Falafal. Like I said already it’s early days for Umi, and perhaps reviewing so quickly show a certain naivety on my part but the signs are great – really good staff, very tasty falafel and a focus on variety of tastes across the menu. With bang for your buck as well, they’re going to make a very positive impact on vegetarian dining in Dublin! Looking forward to my next visit already.