Cindy and I had a short overlapping window between my return from Sweden and her trip to the US and we were keen to squeeze in a quick visit to Very Good Falafel, a much-hyped new place in Brunswick. The duo who run it - Shuki and Louisa - have made their name serving up falafel pita pockets at markets all 'round Melbourne, and this is their shot at a permanent base.
The menu is pretty simple: falafel, sabih (and eggplant and egg dish) or ktzizot (a lamb dish) served either in a pita or as a plate. You can also get a plate of their rotating selection of salads, with or without falafel balls, or hummus/babaganoush-based plates.
I couldn't resist the salad plate - green beans and Brussels sprouts in tomato and capsicum sauce, roasted pumpkin with kale and freekeh, cabbage, kohlrabi and sultanas - plus three falafel balls and tahini ($13).
This place really does live up to its name - these falafel balls are very good indeed: crispy on the outside, tender and spicy on the inside. They've really nailed their recipe. The salads were great as well - a nice mix of different vegetables and flavours. At $13 this is a very impressive plate of food.
Cindy ordered the straight-up falafel plate ($10), which is basically a deconstructed falafel roll - pickles, hummus, spicy green chilli sauce, salad, onions and the same excellent falafel balls. It was a bit heavy on the red-onion for Cindy's tastes, but otherwise this hit the spot superbly, all carried by the great falafel balls.
There's something a bit weird about this hipster-ish place plonking itself right in between A1 and Tiba's and trying to sell falafel. In some ways it feels like another sign of the neighbourhood's steady gentrification, but the food is great, the prices pretty reasonable and the whole venture pretty unassuming. We'll almost certainly be back.
There are a few rave reviews out there already - see Veganopoulous, Green Gourmet Giraffe, Fitzroyalty and Eat My Street.
Very Good Falafel
629 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Accessibility: There's a flat entry into a spacious interior, with a mix of low stools, high stools and bench seats. Somewhat oddly, there's no toilet in the premises - they send you up the road to the Edinburgh Castle, which is not ideal.