"Get some balls!" Sabbaba, the long-time Israeli falafel favourite in Bondi, is one of the newest additions to King Street, opening in Newtown late last year.
Graffiti-scrawled walls (by professional graffiti artist Jeremy Hession) and mismatched furniture lend it some urban charm.
The menu is on a clipboard, with a dizzying selection of options that could easily leave you dazed and confused. Pita pocket, bowl or plate? Falafel, steak, lamb, haloumi or fish? What type of falafel? Upgrade to a value meal with two extra choices? The need for a "How to Sabbaba" section only seems to reinforce the complexity of the menu, even though there is a certain irony that sabbaba means "no problems, it's all good".
It's a relief to find the lunch special: $9.90 for any falafel, meat or fish pita with a can of drink or water. The limited options are still deliberated over with angst. We place our orders at the casual cafe-style counter - food is delivered direct to your table.
Olive cans recycled as serviette and cutlery holders
There's a view of the kitchen from the dining area, and the smell of freshly baked pita bread only fuels our appetite. Even though we're eating in, our food arrives wrapped tightly in paper bags and stapled with receipts for easy identification.
Bus to Tijuana $8
Who am I to refuse the chance of a cocktail with lunch? The Bus to Tijuana comes with a perky cocktail umbrella, a combination of coconut milk, Malibu rum, lychees and longans that is surprisingly strong.
New York steak pita pocket $9.90
The New York steak pita pocket is a thin slice of fillet jazzed up with tartare sauce, rocket, sliced tomato, onions and pickles.
New York steak pita pocket
Algerian falafel pita pocket $8.90
It soon becomes clear why the pita pockets are served in paper bags - eating these is decidedly messy. The falafel variations come in regional themes, with the Algerian falafel featuring tabouli, green chilli, red chilli, chickpeas, eggplant, pickles, tahini and hummus.
The falafel balls in this option are studded with pieces of red roasted capsicum, providing a smoky sweetness that works well with the tabouli and eggplant.
Cancun falafel pita pocket $8.90
I'd ordered the wackiest one I could find: the Cancun falafel pita pocket which comes with corn chips. I actually have to dig the corn chips out from the bottom of the pita pocket (oh the inaccuracies of a staged photo), which by this stage have already started to go soggy from the village salad, salsa and guacamole. I'd expected a lot more corn chips, and there's not a lot of the promised cheese either.
The falafel balls are cooked fresh, but there's less of a crunchy shell than you might expect. The pita bread is a highlight - warm, fluffy and soft.
If the vegan falafel has left you feeling virtuous, then there's definitely room for vegan baklava, stacked up into tempting pyramids in the window display.
Is that a falafel in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
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6/14/2011 01:05:00 a.m.