A Lebanese treat from Nana Fanny’s
“Everybody in the Middle East claims falafel belongs to them: from the Israelis to the Palestinians to the Lebanese, tweaked and adapted to suit the region,” says Andrew Lester, son of Nana Fanny’s founder Ivan. “One key difference is the bread in which they are served, ranging from pita, to wraps, to lavash, which is an Armenian flatbread.
“I recently returned from Israel, and Jerusalem in particular is a mecca for foodies. It’s split into four main quarters, each of which has its own take on falafel. I feasted on falafel almost daily to see where we could improve or update our recipe from the legendary experts... And I returned in the knowledge that the Lebanese recipe adopted at Nana Fanny’s is still the best!” he beams proudly.
While the stall made its name with traditional salt beef beigels, Nana Fanny’s falafel wrap has gained a popular following. The traditional, pillowy-soft Lebanese khobiz flat bread wrap (made from scratch and by hand overnight by a trusted Lebanese chef, along with the freshly-prepared hummus) is the perfect canvas on which to paint some serious flavours—the star of which, of course, are the crisp balls of falafel.
A real kick
Each batch of falafel—a mix of broad beans, onions, leeks, garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander “and many, many spices, giving it a real kick in the flavour department”—is delivered to Borough fresh each morning. “The falafel is intentionally rough, to maximise crispy bits while ensuring the centre is soft and fluffy,” continues Andrew.
“It’s then fried in sunflower oil on site, to order, ensuring a light, airy falafel is achieved every time.” The khobiz is then buttered with hummus before adding the hot, fresh falafels, which are slightly crushed in order to absorb the generous drizzling of tahini and chilli.
Next comes the salad. “The recipe is what we call acid salad. It was taught to me by a third-generation Greek!” says Andrew. “It includes red and white cabbage, turnips pickled for two weeks in apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, lettuce and chilli peppers.” The acidity works perfectly with the savoury oiliness of the falafel, and adds a guise of healthy-eating to this altogether dreamy, lunchtime treat. Bundled up and tighty wrapped inside the khobiz, it’s “the perfect walk along street food”.