96 Botanic Ave,
Belfast BT7 1JR
The Botanic area has become infiltrated with eateries over the past number of years with Umi Falafel being the newest kid on this particular culinary block. The colossal Boojum still leads the Botanic popularity table but with new entrants like Bao, Tribal Burger, Bubbacue and now Umi Falafel the area is fast becoming the go-to area in the city for fast casual dining.
I believe this is the third venture of Umi Falafel with the other two being in Dublin and Cork. The middle eastern eatery stands in the old All Seasons unit, a building that I used to frequent on a fortnightly basis. The UF guys have breathed a much-needed breath of fresh air to the building in modernising with a grey and yellow colour scheme and an atmosphere that wouldn't feel out of touch in Notting Hill. It's offering is obviously based around falafels with a select number of middle eastern Mezze dishes for a bit of variance. Baba Ghanoush, Hummus, Halloumi Cheese and Vine leaves make up the bulk of the mezze with a variety of falafel based sandwiches in, Palestinian, Lebanese, Hummus and Halloumi filled flatbread.
Considering the location's proximity to my place of work I have visited on a number of occasions for a quick meat-free lunch. I am yet to venture away from the Palestinian and Lebanese flatbreads which are both bursting with freshness and packed with at least 3 of your 5 a day. It ticks all the boxes in being an extremely tasty, quick and fairly healthy sandwich all wrapped in a fresh, authentic middle eastern style flatbread for £4.50. The Palestinian Falafel encompasses Palestinian bread, a Pocket full of hummus, tomato, cucumber pickles, fried aubergine, flat parsley, chilli & tahini sauce alongside the crispy and light deep-fried falafels. Considering the frugal price of the sandwich you certainly get a lot for your money.
Umi Falafel is an excellent addition to the thriving student area of Botanic and a business that will keep vegetarians happy amongst the plethora of carnivorous locations it neighbours. It is fairly faultless in its offerings and I can't fathom UF being anything but a success with its niche offering providing great appeal to the continually health conscious people of Belfast.