Monday, May 27, 2013

Friday Lunch from Akram's Shoppe

It is difficult to walk more than two blocks in downtown Toronto without passing a tiny storefront offering falafel and shawarma. You can count on entering any one of them, handing over a fiver, and know that upon leaving you will have enough food to fill you up. Visit Akram's Shoppe in Kensington Market, and you are able to get a falafel for only $2.00!

Beginning with the shape, Akram's falafel is not the same old version. Rather than balls, the filling is shaped into pucks for more surface area and thus more crispy bits. From the smoky flavor, one guesses that there is a good quantity of fava beans in the mix while most of the time it's chickpeas, chickpeas, and more chickpeas.Another reason the taste of the actual patties is more obvious is that the are not so many garnishes: There are no pickles and no gloopy tahini sauce to spurt down the front of your shirt. Strangely one falafel has tabbouli, the other does not. They were generous with the hot sauce which one of us would have preferred not to have at all. Otherwise, the toppings are a little iceberg, a little red cabbage, and diced tomatoes. Although there is no tahini dripping out, these falafels do fall apart easily, leaving crumbs across our desks.

Falafel Wrap with Lentil Soup

We also try a red lentil soup, a pretty shade of yellow with bits of orange carrot. It is not rather innocuous although less chalky than many lentil soups.  A squirt of lemon juice and a pinch of salt might have been of benefit.

We sampled a yogurt and garlic sauce, labelled "Yammi" which we scooped onto the falafel to counteract the burn of the hot sauce.. We also enjoyed, Muhammara, roasted red pepper and walnut sauce.

Yammi (left), Muhammara (right)

To finish the meal, we nibbled, or in one case gorged, on pistachio-laden halva, made on the premises and the freshest we have ever consumed.

Pistachio Halva

Price:  $20.15 for two falafels, lentil soup, two sauces, and halva.

Location: 191 Baldwin Street, Toronto

Phone: 647-351-3116

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