Of the many amazing memories I have of my trip to Israel last summer, eating the best falafel and hummous of my life ranks up there. So imagine my excitement when Pilpel opened near Spitalfields Market (which is where I work). For the past three months, I’ve found it a colossal exercise of willpower to limit my visits to Pilpel to only once a week. Often I break down and go twice a week. And no, I don’t want to know what my cholesterol is.
As Londonelicious has already noted, it’s a grab-and-go type of place. On weekdays, two long queues snake out the door at lunchtime, ensuring high turnover, which is key when you’re dealing with deep-fried goodies. You can order a falafel salad for £4.49 (which is basically all the stuffings of a falafel sandwich served in a bowl with the pita bread on the side), or you can order the falafel sandwich for £3.99 (which is the way to do it, in my opinion).
The servers at lunchtime work fast, but they’re good natured and always oblige when I ask for extra tahini (if it weren’t unseemly to drink that stuff down, I would). I’ve found that paying the extra 50p for a boiled egg or feta doesn’t add much, but occasionally I can’t resist the extra topping of fried aubergine, which is evil because everyone knows that there is no better sponge for oil than an aubergine.
Although I think Pilpel should throw on some red cabbage (like they do at the Parisian institution, L’As du Fallafel), I like that Pilpel’s falafels are always hot from the fryer and that the servers are fast and friendly. The place is a little slice of Tel Aviv here in London, and as the days grow shorter, thinking of a warm, Mediterranean beach city is no bad thing.
Pilpel falafel, 38 Brushfield Street, E1 6EU; 0207 247 0146; closest tube station: Liverpool Street