In my opinion, there are two categories of people when it comes to falafel. Either you love them so much that you get excited at their very mention, or you haven’t had them before and are unaware of what you’re missing. If you happen to be the former then you’ve probably already been to FilFil Café, so I’m going to assume that you’re the second type of person.
Serving from 10am to 6pm, FilFil North Laine Falafel Co. opened just six months ago and is nestled in the heart of the North Laine (as the name suggests), on Gardner Street. It’s a small cosy place with stylish modern décor and an unsurprisingly falafel-orientated menu.
My friend and I decided to have a falafel pitta each and share a side of baba ghanouge. What on earth’s that? I wasn’t sure either. It’s basically a kind of pâté made from roasted aubergines, garlic and lemon juice. It’s incredibly tasty. The pittas were full of hot and richly savoury falafel with creamy homemade hummus, crunchy salad and garlic and chilli sauces. They were really delicious, and much more filling than they look. We were going to order chips and olives as well but I’m glad we didn’t because we could barely move after our meal, let alone devour more food!
Fun fact: falafels are made of chickpeas, which are naturally rich in protein and release energy slowly; keeping you going throughout the day. They’re also low in saturated fat and high in nutrients. Tasty, filling, healthy and cheap. You can’t really fault falafel, and these were some of the best I’ve had the pleasure to taste.
Talking of cheap, the really exciting thing about FilFil is they’re offering students a 10% discount on all their food, and they also offer loyalty cards. After collecting eight stamps you get a free pitta, wrap or falafel platter. If you use the discount and the card together you’re effectively getting over 20% off, and seeing as the standard prices are already very reasonable, FilFil really is a wallet-friendly place to grab some quality grub.
FilFil is owned by a lady named Amal who grew up in Israel and dreamed for years about bringing Middle Eastern street food to Brighton. I met her and her husband Tim today and it’s obvious they’re both passionate about what they do. Amal uses a traditional Israeli recipe for the falafel that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Everything in the café is freshly made each morning, and the falafel are actually fried to order. Amal’s enthusiasm for ‘’good quality, healthy food that brings people together’’ is evident in everything she says. The student discount also shows Amal and Tim are keen to attract students into the café and share their love of authentic falafel with the Brighton youngsters.
For their full menu, which includes side dishes such as olives, feta, tabouleh, and vine leaves as well as large falafel platters, coffees and smoothies, check out: http://www.fil-fil.co.uk/. The standard falafel meals start from £3.55.
Next time you find yourself mooching around Brighton considering a luxurious snack, why not pop into FilFil and check out their chickpea goodness. I’ll definitely be back soon.
Written by Tegan Tallullah