Business lunch Grandma's recipe draws the crowds
D an Levy has a lot to thank his Algerian grandma for. After all, it is her fabulous falafel recipe that drives his new business in St Nicholas Market.
And what a business. Since he opened a few months ago, it has been so busy that he tells me he is tripling his business plan when it comes to projected sales.
If queue lengths are anything to go by, Eat A Pitta is already one of the busiest stalls in the market, which is all the more remarkable when you consider it has the smallest choice of food.
I say choice, but then there isn't really that much to choose from because all it sells is falafels. The only real choices for the customers are whether they want their falafels in a pitta (£3.95), as a salad (£3.95) or on their own (£2 for six or £2.50 for ten).
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And then there are which salads and accompaniments to go for, although most people in the queue when I visited obviously couldn't choose so simply asked for all of them.
Eat a Pitta looks exactly how a bustling street food stall should. There is a handful of mosaic tile-topped tables for those lunchtime diners who have time to sit down and eat, but most people buy them to take away to eat at their desk, or perhaps sit in nearby Castle Park.
The stall itself looks very inviting. Either side of the fryer where the falafels are cooked to order, there are teetering mountains of mouthwatering salads in colourful glass bowls.
The counter is a riot of colour with piles of grated Moroccan-style carrots, shredded red and white cabbage, herb-flecked tabbouleh, jalepenos and pickled cucumbers.
I got to the stall on the stroke of midday and there was a queue already but it was certainly worth the wait.
The warm wholemeal pitta bread was excellent – crisp on the outside, soft inside and thick enough to retain its generous filling without any unwanted spillages in the trouser department.
There was a layer of smooth and nutty hummus at the bottom and then grated carrots, shredded cabbage and pickled cucumbers interspersed with falafels the size of a golf ball.
The falafels were as good as any I have tasted – dense but not too heavy and delicately spiced. The salads were well made, fresh tasting and added layers of crunch and piquancy, as did the tahini and fiery chilli sauce.