Photo: Maddy Hubbard
Manchester is a great city for the deep-fat fried chickpea, with a multitude of options from the Northern Quarter to Curry Mile and even out in the ‘burbs. However, not all falafel were created equal, so here’s a handy guide to help you traverse the terrain:
The most recent addition to Oxford road’s many lunch-break snack bars, Kukoos describes itself as bringing the sunshine to Manchester, and I’m inclined to agree. The bright orange decor, soothing Middle Eastern tracks and piles of mouth-watering super-food salads presented in huge wooden serving bowls are enough to brighten anyone’s day before you’ve so much as had a mouthful. Luckily, the food tastes as good as it looks. The falafel balls were warm and crispy, although perhaps a little dry, you get a generous helping of the salads of your choice, including a creamy curried coleslaw which lent the falafel an Indian flavour, and although the portions aren’t the largest it’s certainly filling. Kukoos is ‘street food’ however, so seating is limited, especially during the lunch rush.
Special ability: You’re given the selection of a huge selection of sauces ranging from mango to mint alongside the classic tahini and hummus.
Perfect for: A between lectures lunch-stop
Go Falafel does what it says on the tin: a tiny, fresh falafel and juice bar. Although this is very much a specialised takeaway with no seating at all and nothing on the menu but falafel, this allows them to focus on doing what they do best, and they do it very well. Service is quick and friendly, often they’ll give you a free falafel ball to chew on whilst you wait for a fresh batch to be cooked up. The falafel balls are prepared on site and taste particularly fresh and flavoursome in the wrap. There’s a small range of salads for you to choose, including a vinegary red cabbage salad, spicy potatoes and pickled gherkins, all of which miraculously taste delicious together. The sauce is suitably generous and the wrap is soft but strong enough to hold the bulging falafel in place. The new branch in town is a great addition to the original curry mile outlet, with a slightly larger variety of salad.
Special ability: The falafel balls are cooked to perfection, crispy but never dry.
Perfect for: Food on the move
Photo: The Mancunion
Withington’s Fuel has a wonderful atmosphere. A warm, cosy vegan and vegetarian cafe/bar with a slightly kooky design – cosy leather sofas for a chilled out lunch and higgledy-piggledy candle lit tables for an intimate date. They offer great drinks, with a large range of beers, ciders or freshly made coffee and incredible milkshakes, along with friendly fast service. They also have regular evenings of entertainment, so if you pick the right night you could watch a band, singer or comedy act over dinner. On the falafel front there are two options; the light bite falafel wrap or the more expensive main meal falafel burger. The wrap comes with both humus and caramelised onion chutney, which added a sweeter flavour, and the falafel balls were cooked perfectly, with a basic lettuce and tomato salad both packed into the wrap and alongside it. The falafel burger was more substantial, a typical veggie burger with gherkins, a slightly spicy tomato relish, salad, and Fuel’s amazing chunky home-made chips. The falafel options at Fuel make for a tasty meal, although they are a whole different breed of fried chickpea from the street-food options, offering an English take on this middle-eastern staple.
Special ability: the lovely atmosphere makes it a joy to eat in Fuel.
Perfect for: a wallet-friendly meal out or date.