Come hungry, leave happy. There can be few better strap lines than that of Falafel Guys and while it is great to talk the talk, you also have to walk the walk, which is just what they do.
For once I was not dining alone and both my companion and I found that we could just not quite manage to finish out meals. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a Man v Food challenge just a generous portion of superbly prepared food.
There are two branches of Falafel Guys, one is a street food cart in Briggate near Marks and Spencer and the other in Assembly Underground one block up Gt George Street from the Town Hall. Ever the gentleman I suggested that we meet at the latter, partly as we had business to discuss and also because the subterranean premises are home to Vocation Bar which has fifty beer lines.
Whilst we sipped our way through our respective brews we perused the menu book which contains the bill of fare for all of the vendors in the place which is a great touch. I had gone with a mission to review the Middle Eastern gaff and, after a short time, my friend decided to have the same as I, the Triple Decker which is billed as comprising Chicken, Falafel and Halloumi. This description is only a fraction of the ingredients which come with the dish. Other components are revealed when you look at the options of having it in a wrap or a bowl when you are informed of the addition of Homemade Hummus, Fresh Salad and Sauce. The hummus comes in three colours reminiscent of a Neapolitan ice cream, brown, pink and natural. They all tasted similar but in the bowl looked spectacular. This was a treat my friend missed as she had hers in a wrap which was a large flatbread.
The reason we went for the Triple Decker was that it gave us the opportunity to sample the complete range of food on offer in one fell swoop. The secret of success here is to do a limited range of options but do them well. The dishes on the menu are Falafel – obviously – Chicken Shawarma, Halloumi and Hummus which can be purchased singly or in combinations. There was a very spectacular looking Crispy Cauliflower Bowl on a specials sign but, as this review is meant to act as a guide for those eating in Leeds there is no point in writing about something which might not be available next month.
I ordered the bowl because I like to be able to sample the elements of a dish individually before combining them and a wrap prevents you from doing that, however, when I saw the flatbread being constructed I was beginning to think that I might have made the wrong decision as the distribution of the fillings was done to accentuate the flavours of the main ingredients whilst adding the co-stars throughout. Common sense soon prevailed as I began to pick at the chicken which was as spicy as you would think and perfectly cooked being charred on the outside but wonderfully succulent. Likewise the falafel which was crisp on the outside and moist in the middle. There is nothing worse than the stuff you get in supermarkets which is dry as a bone and like eating sawdust. It takes a special talent to mess up chickpeas. The halloumi was just on the right side of chewy which didn’t cook out the cheese flavour.
The extras were superb as well. The salad leaves in the bottom of the bowl were fresh as were the other additions with the large, hot pickled pepper cutting through the comforting textures and flavours of all of the other parts.
For eight quid this is a bargain whichever way you choose to eat it and I thoroughly recommend a visit to Assembly Underground to anyone working in, or visiting Leeds. Although there are other street food traders there please be sure that you call at Falafel Guys at least once, I am sure that you won’t regret it. We were both testament to the philosophy today in that we arrived hungry and left exceedingly happy.