Library Falafel – Tough Times, High Hopes

Munching on a cheeky lunch break falafel at Wick Road Library,¬† I couldn’t help wonder if this would be the last time I falafel-ed it in this particular library. It was one of the 17 libraries in Bristol marked for closure and the decision was to be made in a few weeks time (December 4th). I scoffed the falafel pensively, it was good. A decent amount of hummus, no need for extra sauces, not too big, not too dry. I stared out of the staff room window which over looked the garish new build flats that had popped up some months before, blocking the access to our garden gate entirely. Maybe that was part of their evil scheme. It was common knowledge that the whole site would be turned into un-affordable flats as soon as the library shuts its door- this was lucrative real estate. It was good falafel, but would I come to Brislington just to eat it when the library shut down? I doubt it. I tried to savour it, but gobbled it down too fast (I’m only human).


I had been disappointed by Marvin Rees’ standard reply to the passionate letter I had written to him about libraries the previous week, using my personal experiences and making the argument that libraries play a vital role in supporting other services – this shortsighted approach will put more pressure on other services – it will not save money, nor lives. At least the council had released a motivating new consultation with the catchy tag line “tough times, high hopes” – together, we can do it! A more cynical person than I would think the marketing team were laughing in our faces.


Wick road was one of the libraries I was most upset about, in fact. It was a well used busy library. Just this morning we had a computer class and a craft class, in the afternoon our knitting group would arrive. Someone was helping someone with a job search on one table, another group were having a quiet work meeting. The library was also often full of young parents and kids. Baby bounce and rhyme was always packed with babies – a little too much so if you ask me (spoiler alert – I HATE SINGING BABY SONGS, THAT’S WHY I DON’T WORK IN A NURSERY). The saddest thing about it though, is that there really isn’t anywhere else to go – no community centre nearby – just a small parade of shops. Libraries ceased to be about books ages ago – now they are spaces – to read and borrow books if they want, to use computers or simply be – no one charging you money for just existing.

My break time was over, my breath onion-y. It was worth it. It could be my last (lunch break) falafel. Perhaps that was worse than even losing my job or the declining literacy rates in children and adults. Where was the humanity?

Now to the review

Cafe – Sandy Park Rd, Bristol BS4 3PG

Falafel – 4/5

Salad – 3/5 (nothing special there)

Bread – 3/5 (standard)

Level of intoxication  Рminus 1/5 ( I was the most sober I had ever been, 5 weeks into a no drinking challenge. Tough times, high hopes?)

Hummus +++









Shake, Wrap and Roll

After walking past this particular cafe on an almost daily basis. wondering if they included falafel in their wrap ingredients, I finally decided to give it a go. I was hungry from an anti-austerity demo I had just attended, as part of the ‘Libraries Bloc. My favourite chant was ‘Libraries, should be free! Not just for the bourgeoisie!’


I was also striking from cleaning up the kitchen, which had slightly backfired in that now, I couldn’t use the kitchen without feeling sick. No-one else seems to care. So, to the falafel shop it was. ‘Shake Wrap and Roll’ lies just minutes away from my house so I took the plunge and entered the small, understated premises.


Now, the price was quite hefty, but the falafel was hefty to match. ¬£5.50 for a large and you could choose more than one filling. In a daring move, I went for falafel, hummus, and aloo gobi, fried up and toasted with the bread. The salad array was varied and included olives and pickles, and you could have your choice of sauces. I went for the Sicilian chili, which lead on to a 10 minute conversation about the unification of Italy and the North/South divide. Before the wrap was done, we also discussed our favourite foods which for the lady was Indian, the bloke Vietnamese or Japanese. I nodded along. At this point, I just wanted my falafel. I enjoyed the ‘banter’ though, and left feeling welcomed into their lives for just a few small minutes.

I hurried home and got my other taste tester to share the wrap with me and learn a little of their impressions. ‘Its got potato in it’ he said with an oafish smile. ‘Its got chili…it’s balanced’. We both agreed the salad tasted fresh (especially the juicy red peppers) and that the toasted bread was a nice touch. I found it slightly dry- it could have had more sauce and also, the hummus was concentrated at the bottom, which was a nice ending but could have done something to make it less dry if it had been spread evenly.

It was massive, so it would have been far too much for one person. Split between two then, the price becomes a little more reasonable.

Bread- 4/5

Falafel- 3/5

Salad- 5/5

Service -5/5

Sauces- 3/5

Hummus gets extra points and so does aloo gobi.

All in all a successful if expensive venture.

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