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In the title fight for the best falafel in London, Balady is a serious contender. The kosher falafel bar in Temple Fortune is an expert in all things bread-related, condiment-related and, for that matter, chickpea-related too. Their freshly-baked pitas are brought in from nearby Taboon, while their falafels are gobstopper-sized, perfectly-spiced marvels. Combined with pickled cabbage and cucumber as well as a generous glug of hummus, tahini, hot red pepper and jalapeño zhug, and, of course, amba - this is the absolute gold standard of falafels in London.
Balady is very good at putting or wrapping things in bread. Whether it’s aubergine and egg (the sabich), cauliflower shawarma, or their incredible falafel, everything at this quick and casual Temple Fortune spot is offered with a huge choice of salads, pickles, hummus, red pepper and jalapeño schug, as well as tahini and amba. The result is a full-on assault of flavour. Sweet mango mingling with chickpea, red cabbage with pickled cucumber and sesame, the whole thing just working. We go for the falafel in pita (baked at local spot Taboon), but you should know that everything here is pretty great, notably their hand made chips, and the cauliflower starter. You should also know that getting a merguez wrapped in a huge, pillowy laffa from their next-door sister restaurant Alaesh is always a good idea.
“This summer, when it finally felt kind of okay for me to leave my flat, I became a semi-regular at Balady. Week after week, I drove to Temple Fortune and sat outside this busy takeaway with a book. While I always ordered the cauliflower (because anyone who goes here must always order the cauliflower) my other choices varied. Sometimes I’d get the sabich, and sometimes I’d get a merguez in lafa from Balady Alaesh, their sister restaurant next door. But it’s their falafel pita that became my go-to. It’s stuffed with hummus, salad, pickles, beets, carrots, cauliflower, fiery zhug, tahina and amba, and served as a glorious weekly reminder that there might well be a time, one day soon, when we get to share food like this with all the people we love once again.” - OF
Balady is an Israeli restaurant in Temple Fortune delivering falafels, pickles, salads and more to the local area for free, and further afield for a small fee. Call 020 8458 2064 to place your order.
“I’ve become a regular at Balady. Since sometime this summer I’ve been going most Thursday nights, and while I tend to try something different each time, the one constant in my order is this cauliflower. Part of me has been worried about telling anyone about it. If word gets out about how good this thing is - I catastrophised - maybe it’ll prompt some kind of London-wide cauliflower shortage and then what will I do on Thursday nights? The reason I’ve written about it now is that the London team have talked me down. Since at least half of London bought at least one Ottolenghi book, they argued, the cauliflower supply chain has been shored up and can easily keep pace with any temporary surge in demand. Here it is then. Balady’s cauliflower starter. It’s relatively simple. Just a puddle of tahini, a shower of amba, lemon juice, salt, sumac, parsley, and a couple of handfuls of deep-fried cauliflower. I promise you though, even if cauliflower is your go-to veg, this will still have enough crunch and zing to surprise you every time you eat it.”