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Umi Falafel is a relatively new restaurant in Academy Street (Cork). One of the first things you notice is a large mural of a matronly lady from the Levant, the mother (the umi in the restaurant title). We were there for lunch after all the meat of the week-long Burger Festival. And we certainly got the change we wanted and all for a very reasonable price.
There is a warm greeting as you enter and you are asked if you are eating in or if you want take-away. We were eating in and so took our menus to the table, read them over once or twice, and went back to the counter to order and to pay.
The Lebanese and the Palestinian are the two main Falafels here; there are other choices, including a Falafel Your Way. Here too you’ll find a Mezze menu, also salads and bites. Quite a choice. We hadn't been here before so when we spotted the All Day Umi Plate for Two we thought it would be a good introduction and ordered it.
It consists of 8 falafels, a salad of your choice (Fatoush in our case), hummus, 2 spinach rolls and 4 stuffed vine leaves. Lots of healthy eating in that lot, excellent flavours and textures.
That crunch colourful Fatoush salad is a Lebanese favourite: tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, parsley, dry mint, rocket, scallion on a bed of lettuce with lemon juice and olive oil topped with toasted bread and pomegranate molasses. It is just one of a large selection here that also includes Tabouleh, Quinoa, Couscous and Lentil versions.
Not too sure what a Falafel is? Well, they are wholesome, golden-brown croquettes that are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and moist from the inside. This is the Umi method: “We first soak the fresh chickpeas in water for 24 hours; we then combine up to 15 different ingredients such as onions, garlic, parsley, coriander and our special Umi spices such as cumin, crushed chillies, cloves, cinnamon and more. The recipe is 100% vegetarian and high in protein.”
In addition to our eight Falafels, we enjoyed four stuffed Vine Leaves and two Filo Pastries packed with spinach. There was also a lovely bowl of excellent hummus and four pieces of freshly baked bread into which you could stuff as much as you like. All, including the bread, was very tasty indeed. The bill came to €14.50, for the two! Amazing value.
We settled for water on the day but there is a choice of drinks as well, freshly squeezed juices, including a Jazar Surprise (carrot, apple and ginger), coffees and teas and soft drinks too. Well worth a try!