It had been almost 2 weeks since our last falafel, which, as documented before, had been mediocre. To say we were looking forward to Falafel Friday would be an understatement.
All week we had been discussing amongst ourselves how to carry out the next falafel experiment. We kept being given conflicting views on the ‘best falafel’ in Granada. Our friend Andy insisted it was ‘ninja lady’ in the falafel shop named “Marchica”, while our housemates plugged for ‘Puerta del Syria’. Another friend bragged of the good value of the one ‘hidden behind mini mart’ and our other trusted friends claimed it was ‘ Shawarma’ that was really a winner. Now, we hardly need say that we are in a very privileged position here in the south of Spain. With its international population, Granada is blessed with almost too many falafel options, a marked difference from the poor and undernourished north of the country. Just walking out of our door you can encounter 3 shops, and many more just around the corner. We decided, thus to try 2 different ones, on the Calle Elvira (the street where the most falafel shops are).
That’s right, this was war. Falafel wars.
“Marchica” – No.71, Calle Elvira, Granada
Precio – 2.50 -4.00 euros (depending on size)
We decided to split up. Without even pausing for breath, on arrival at Marchica Falafel, our friends rushed in and purchased their sizable wraps. However, it was immediately apparent that all was not as it should be. ” As soon as I ran into the shop, I noticed that ninja lady was not working today. Instead, a smiling man…” Our friend broke off as he considered the wrap he was biting into.
His mouth puckered slightly as he took his first mouthful. “It’s not as good as normal” declared he, disappointment clearly showing in his eyes.
“The thing is, the ‘ninja lady’ packs it really well. This guy…in the orange t-shirt…I just don’t know.”
Munching on, next on his list of criticisms included “undercooked bread- far too doughy” – he showed me the flaking bread as proof.
When quizzed on the salad he replied “too much falafel, not enough salad”. The sauce, everyone agreed was “quite spicy” but the famous Spanish dubious “white sauce” was liberally applied without prior consent.
Others quotes I managed to wheedle out of him as he munched included
” not as que rico as normal”
” this falafel is a disappointing end to my life in Granada”
Falafel : 2/5
Total : 2.25/5
While all this was going on, we had sprinted down the road to number 58, Calle Elvira, and the Restaurant/ Take Away “Puerta de Syria”.
Your ears probably pricked up at the name ‘restaurant’, and its true, it was a little bit more up market. Not in terms of price, which was the average 2.50, but you could sit down and enjoy the food if necessary, and you could have a child babble incomprehensibly in Arabic at you while you waited. The sofas were plush, the family smiling. However, the wait time was frankly, torturous. Our friends had already finished theirs by the time we got ours, in fact. However, the tension that this extra time created had the effect of making us savour the end result even more. The wrap, further more, was made with love. The mans deft fingers took his time and the salad contained a pleasing array of cucumber, lettuce, tomato and parsley. The parsley needs more of a mention at this stage, as it was an interesting twist but in my opinion overpowering. My colleague described the wrap as somewhat “flaccid”- referring to the size- the wrap was only half full. However, the nutty taste of the falafel itself was certainly a delight, complemented by the spicy sauce and hummus. However, there could have been more hummus, only a slightly stingy layer was applied.
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