Wednesday 27 August 2014

Umi Falafel, Dame Street, Dublin 2

After a trip to France back in July, during which I overindulged like a 'petit cochon' (little pig), I couldn't look at meat anymore (well for a few days only). So when I met a friend for a catch-up lunch I suggested we go to Umi Falafel for a healthy meal... well, healthier than my usual meals.

Umi Falafel is different to your usual Middle Eastern joints in Dublin, much more contemporary looking and specialises in falafels. The word 'Umi' means 'mother' in Arabic and I wonder if the woman on the illustration on the wall isn't supposed to be someone's mammy, if so she looks pretty hipster to me.

There is a long counter at the entrance where food can be ordered to take away or to be eaten in their seating area at the very back of the restaurant. The space is sleek and modern, a little dark with a few tables close to the back window: it's an hybrid between fast-food and a restaurant with table service.

Five sandwiches are available on the menu (The Palestinian, The Lebanese, Hummus, Grilled Halloumi cheese or your own way), many salads (fatoush, tabouleh, Moroccan...) as well as mezze dishes including baba ganoush or stuffed vine leaves, everything is priced well under a tenner.

I ordered the falafel plate which is part of their lunch meal deal and includes a drink for €7.50 (until 5pm). The food came on a large wooden board and was nicely presented in small bowls and even a deep-frying basket. The falafel plate consisted of 4 falafels, a salad of my choice, hummus, 2 dips and bread.

I went for the Fatoush salad which was fresh, with big chunks of crunchy cucumbers, peppers and plenty of tomatoes. The seasoning was perfect, however it was a little heavy on the onions for my taste.

The falafels were golden brown, very crispy on the outside while still quite soft on the inside. Delicious indeed.

I liked dipping the falafels and fluffy bread in the hummus, however the other two dips lacked a bit of a punch somehow. The chili dip wasn't quite spicy enough for my tastes and the tahini dip seemed a bit bland.

My friend had the other lunch deal, the falafel sandwich with potato wedges and a drink for €7.50.

Her Palestinian pita bread was filled with falafels, hummus, tomato, cucumber, pickles, fried aubergine and chili sauce. I think she made the right decision as it's easier to get all the flavours when everything is packed into a sandwich.

The spicy potato wedges served on the side were good, perfectly cooked and not too greasy with lovely garlic, citrus and coriander flavours.

Food in Umi Falafel is good value and pretty decent, also the enthusiasm and friendliness of the lady working there added value to our lunch experience. The portions were big and left me full for the rest of the day, I'd go back to try more dishes for sure. This place is a great spot for vegetarians or people looking for a quick meat free lunch.

Umi Falafel
13 Dame Street
Dublin 2

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.