Just as the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, the same can be said for restaurants, as sometimes it’s the ones that don’t look anything special from the outside that can take you completely by surprise. Falafel TLV is one such example. This little Israeli spot is hidden up a steep staircase just beside The Globe on Graham Street.
Having noticed it on previous visits to Aloha, I decided one day to check it out and arrived to find an entirely empty restaurant. Whilst this can sometimes put me off, I stuck with my decision and chose a seat. Not a lot can be said about the décor here, as there really isn’t much to it, but the Israeli radio playing in the background certainly sets the scene.
The menu at Falafel TLV is very simple, consisting of a small selection of pita sandwiches, salads and hummus plates. Everything is vegetarian, except for the chicken schnitzel, which comes either as a pita sandwich or a hummus plate, and which they ensure is cooked separately to everything else.
The set lunch menu allows you to choose pretty much any main course, plus a side dish, a drink and a dessert for HKD118. I was intrigued by the sound of the Sabih, a pita sandwich consisting of sliced hard-boiled egg, fried aubergine, hummus and diced tomatoes and cucumber, drizzled in a secret tahini and amba sauce. I was given the choice of having sauerkraut and pickles inside, but I chose to have them served separately and added them myself. This isn’t the most photogenic of sandwiches, but it was seriously delicious. The thin slivers of aubergine were fried to a golden crisp, contrasting nicely with the soft chunks of egg and crunchy vegetables. Be prepared to get messy with this, as it will go everywhere, but you won’t let a single drop of sauce or chunk of egg go to waste once you’ve tasted it.
It would have been rude not to try the restaurant’s namesake, so I chose the falafel balls as my side dish (for an additional HKD10) and was offered extra hummus to go with them, which I gladly accepted. At the top of the menu is a very bold statement that says, “best falafel and hummus in Hong Kong.” Although this is a very big claim, it definitely has some truth to it, as both the falafel and the hummus here are fantastic. I’ve tried many falafel balls in Hong Kong that require chasing with a litre of water, but these weren’t dry in the slightest and had a lovely flavour.
The only dessert offered with the set lunch was the malabi, which consists of a panna cotta style milk jelly, topped with rose syrup, desiccated coconut and crushed peanuts. I’ll admit, my first mouthful was also almost my last, as there’s something about rose syrup that always makes me feel like I’m eating soap. I stuck with it, however, dug deeper into the milk jelly and made sure to get a decent serving of peanuts, and actually began to enjoy this. Although the rose syrup on its own was unpalatably sweet, the slightly salted peanuts balanced this out and kept me going back for more.
The staff at Falafel TLV were lovely and more than happy to offer their personal suggestions. I did feel that some of the prices were a little high given the simplicity of the dishes and the presentation (most things are served in paper or plastic plates), but if you order a la carte and just have one thing, you’ll still get change from a HKD100 note. This little place completely took me by surprise and I will certainly be adding it to my list of weekday lunch spots in Central.
47 Graham Street
Tel: +852 6553 1984