Operation Falafel: Arabic Street Food Revival
Operation Falafel is on a serious gastronomic mission. This spunky eatery is aiming to reintroduce the flavors of Arabic street food, in the guise of a contemporary dining experience. What’s more, they operate 24/7! Ever faced a serious case of falafel or shawarma cravings at odd hours into the night? Fret not, Operation Falafel is here to the rescue:-)
Operation Falafel currently has two branches in Dubai. One is located on Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah and the other, which we visited this weekend, is located on The Beach, JBR.
I love the very funky, new-age interior decor of the place. We got to the restaurant late into Friday night (around 9 pm), and were hard pressed at finding a table.
The ambiance is loud, friendly and casual. Arabic pop music blares out of the sound system, and tables of friends and families delve into an Arabic fare served in the classic simplicity of steel plates.
We started off our meal at Operation Falafel with very fresh, healthful juices. My daughter had watermelon, I went for carrot, and Hubby went for lemon-mint. You can really taste the refreshing difference when juices are made from scratch sans any bottled up commercial additives.
For starters, we decided to share a ‘Manaeesh’. A manaeesh is essentially an Arabic version of panini. Bread is swapped for pita bread, and the stuffing choices range from stretchy, gooey melted cheeses to minced meat or plain zaater. Like a panini, manaeesh is grilled, but this is often done in a traditional clay oven. At Operation Falafel, they have a whole section of the menu dedicated to manaeesh! We went for the Kashkaval Cheese Manaeesh. The bread used here is multi-grain, and the cheese stuffing has a tangy edge to it that is counteracted by the saltiness of the feta-like cheese. Chopped mint add a dimension of freshness to every bite.
When dining at Operation Falafel, ofcourse we had to order a plate of falafels! We went for a platter of Stuffed Falafel. These falafels have been stuffed with onions, pine-nuts and a rather spicy Arabic sauce called ‘shatta’. The falafels are topped with roasted white sesame seeds, and have the perfect outer crunch.
The inside is steamy hot and soft, and is moreish enough to have on its own sans any condiments.
The falafels come in a compartmentalized steel plate which includes a hummus dip, two ‘khubz’ (Arabic pita bread), a salad, a serving of Arabic pickle, and tahina sauce (sesame paste).
The khubz on this platter went untouched as we were served a basket of fresh khubz, made on the premises, right out of the oven! These puffed up beauties were perfect allies for scooping up all that hummus.
The other dish on our table was Operation Falafel’s Shawarma Saj Platter. You get a choice between chicken or beef, and the staff were accommodating enough to give us a 50-50 of both. This platter is essentially an opened up shawarma, the stuffing left open for the diner to eat as he or she pleases. The ‘saj’ bread is amazingly light, and bears the appearance of translucent, fine linen. We enjoyed having the meat with big dollops of the divinely delicious garlic paste on the side.
Ending our meal on a sweet note, we went for a ‘not-so-authentic’ choice for dessert. This is Operation Falafel’s Chocolate & Banana Dough. The base is a pita bread, and it has been smothered in a thick layer of Nutella. Chopped Kinder chocolate has been sprinkled on top, and each wedge is garnished with a slice of banana. Decadent, and simple enough to make at home!
We couldn’t finish this chocolate-laden treat, and packed up the leftovers. I had a slice right out of the fridge the next day, and it tasted even better with the chocolate hardened!
For simplistic Arabic street-food, do check out Operation Falafel for yourself. The fact that they are open 24/7 is great news for noctural foodies like me:-) We went to the branch on The Beach JBR. They also have another branch on Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah and good news is they do deliveries around both areas. Call 600530006 for details.
Source: The Tezzy Files