Sneak Peek: Falafel Yo at Greenbelt 3, Makati
Snack food sans the guilt.
3/F Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Of the many interesting things about falafel—that the Arabic word “falafil” is the plural form of of “filfil” meaning pepper, for example, or that “falafel” could refer to the chickpea fritters themselves or to the sandwiches—it’s probably the fact that they are vegetarian that amazes us the most. But, but—the average burger fan might wonder upon trying one for the first time—it's so tasty! That’s likely the kind of reaction that the folks behind Falafel Yo! are counting on.
“Falafel is fast food,” says Israeli owner Guy Mann. Well, minus the guilt. Made up of chickpeas (or garbanzos), parsley, coriander, garlic, and Mediterranean spices, a falafel is a deep-fried vegetarian fritter sandwiched in pita bread, and served with hummus, tahini sauce, and yogurt.
“It is a very common street food in Israel. It’s not a big player in the local market but there are a few spots in Manila, and where there is falafel, it’s going really well,” Guy adds.
Falafel Yo will open its first shop on April 30 at Greenbelt 3 in Makati. Situated on the cinema level, with a space that can fit only a few tables and chairs, they aim to provide affordable and hearty munchies for diners and movie-goers. They also plan to open bigger and more branches within the year, with Robinsons Galleria and Vertis North outlets in the works.
Their Falafel (P149) is the ultimate hand-held snack; it flaunts six crisp, beautifully browned falafel balls on a bed of salad to make sure that you’d still get a mouthful of falafel with every bite. Everything is then stuffed and packed in warm, chewy pita bread.
“Our purpose in the falafel is to make it as authentic as possible; that if an Israeli person will try Falafel Yo, he will say, ‘That’s exactly like the one in Israel’ or better,” says Guy.
Customers have the option of “side salads” or add-ons like fried eggplant, homemade hummus, pickled onions (or sumac), roasted green chilies, cabbage, lettuce, and a Mediterranean tomato and cucumber mix. They can choose one or two (or everything!) from Falafel Yo’s appetizing salad bar.
To pair with this godsent development is Falafel Yo’s handmade dips; the amba is a vibrant yellow sauce made of mango, cumin, and turmeric, while the tahini is a combination of sesame seeds, coriander, and parsley.
Falafel Beast (without pita bread)
Everyone knows that most Filipinos can’t function normally without their flagrantly fatty meat. That’s why Falafel Yo came up with the world’s first-ever non-vegetarian falafel called the Falafel Beast (P179), an experiment by the owners and Chef Adam Buenafe. It has a 1:2 ratio of beef and falafel so you’d still get that familiar chickpea-flavor with hints of savory beef.
The Falafelito (P99), on the other hand, is good for kids or people with smaller appetites. For drinks, try their tangy Lemongrass Juice (P95) that’s unfailingly refreshing.
Advocating a no-fuss single-dish menu doesn’t make Falafel Yo boring or unimaginative—it only proves their dedication to offer a better focused and executed meal without compromise. Who knows? This could be the falafel’s big break in Metro Manila.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel