After three years hawking their dips, sauces and falafel wraps at Melbourne's farmers' markets, pals Shuki Rosenboim and Louisa Allan – Shuki and Louisa – are set to open a falafel bar called Very Good Falafel in Sydney Road, Brunswick in the first week of May.
Louisa's dad, Graham, is a farmer who grows chickpeas at Wycheproof in the Mallee; Shuki's mum, Tikva, moved from Baghdad to Israel in the 1950s. When Shuki and Louisa met a few years back in a Brunswick share house, there could only be one result: hummus.
Their falafel are Israeli-Iraqi style, Louisa explains, made from chickpeas and fresh herbs and served in spongy pita pockets from Vinuage Bakery in Moorabbin: "Though I can't give away our secret ingredient!"
Also on the menu at the 20-seat shop will be sabih – another Israeli-Iraqi pocket, of fried eggplant, potato, hummus and chilli – and daily salads (think eggplant, freekeh and caramelised onion; or harissa-spiced roast potato).
While Shuki and Louisa make a bit of a dent in her dad's chickpea crop, most are dried for export: "There's a big market in Bangladesh," says Louisa. Expect demand to soar at 629 Sydney Road (near the Brunswick IGA) soon, too.