Friday, 26 July 2013

[FalafelOffTheRecord] Chick, 17-19 Leather Lane

We feel now is an appropriate time to explain what a 'FalafelOffTheRecord' is since it's the first time we've mentioned it. It's when we review a Falafel wrap that isn't part of the competition (i.e. the 20 or so entrants that were around at the start of the heats) to see how it fares on our balanced scorecard. This idea initially came about to cater for any falafel wraps that weren't either on or close enough to Leather Lane but we still wanted to give eat and review. But in unforeseen circumstances, since the tournament began there has been another outlet wanting to join in Leather Lane's falafel fun, 'Chick'. They seem to have some pedigree but since the tournament was so far underway they are unfortunately going to have to wait until next year's competition to vie for Falafeloff Champion 2014.

We got our first taste of Chick before we'd even entered the shop today. Over the past couple of weeks they've had staff standing on Leather Lane with a platter of freshly fried, hot falafels with two pots of tahini and chilli sauce to dip into and we were more than happy to try before bought. We think it's fair to say that Chick's falafels are easily the best on Leather Lane. No-one else serves straight out of the fryer falafels, instead usually opting for microwaving cold falafels to bring them up to temperature. Hopefully this approach from Chick will drive others to up their game to compete on this quality.

Chick's Falafel In a Pitta will set you back £4.65, a huge price we think you'll agree. This is way outside of the falafeloff goalposts so was docked 5.85 for cost. This sum doesn't seem to be putting off punters though as the queue was out of the door. It took the staff quite a while to get through their line of customers but this gave us chance to enjoy their artwork on both exterior and interior walls. Strangely, despite the long wait, once we got to the front of the queue we noticed that the staff seemed to be rushing orders; accidentally throwing gherkin juice into the pitta, giving measly helpings of salad (two tweezer's worth). It's early days for Chick but we're sure that they'll arrive at a more optimal solution of busting through a queue without the product's quality suffering for it. On the subject of staff, falafelofficer 2 gave the cashier a tenner but only received 35p change and then on asking for the missing fiver got into an embarrassing argument to reclaim it back. Meal Deal Chilli is King tactics from the Chick employee.

Positives of the wrap were that there was a large amount of delicious, smooth hummus (3 spoons), a large amount of delicious, crispy, hot falafels (5 thereof) and a mighty fine chilli sauce. Negatives of the wrap were that it was soggy at the bottom (see above), didn't contain enough salad and that the tabbouleh was too light on parsley (I've started to notice these things since reading this article). For the money we felt that the pitta could have been more packed with contents as around the edges there were a lot of large bites that were just bread.

As just mentioned, the pitta was soggy at the bottom and inevitably gave way at about the halfway mark of the eating experience. Fail on both mouthfeel and structural integrity. No such issues were found by falafelofficer 2 which highlighted the inconsistencies with the retailer. Falafelofficer 1 experienced a bad product but good service whereas Falafelofficer 2 experienced a good product but bad service. For 35p short of a fiver they've given themselves no room for these sort of inconsistencies.

All in all, we don't think that Chick is there just yet but it does show the foundations of being a serious player on Leather Lane. Don't be fooled by their platter of falafels, whilst these are by far the best on the falafel furlong the product as a whole is still failing to compete with the falafel elite.

Score: 55.65 

Chick can be found at 17-19 Leather Lane.



  1. I'd say not being ready for the 2013 tourno has done these lads a favour - they're just not ready! You can't be serving your falafel in a soft uncrisped circular pita bread for starters. On my one and only visit, a good portion of the contents slopped their way on to my shirt despite the item being eaten at my desk. The falafel themselves seemed a tad undercooked and oily and as for the price... well... you can't be charging £4.65 when superior grub can be had for £3 a few shopfronts along.

  2. Totally agree with the above comment. It’s pricey and the bread is too thick (and not toasted to make it a little crunchy).

    I tasted the falafel from the lady serving outside and found it fresh and tasty. Hence walked in the shop and forked out a fiver. I found the eating was messy, due to the thick bread the taste of the falafel was lost and all I could really taste was bread.

    Although there is no denying that the fresh, hot & crispy falafel by itself served by the lady outside compels you to buy. I think with it being a little cheaper and with thinner bread could make them the star falafel outlet on the street!!

    "The General"

  3. Falafel is supposed to be a healthy vegetarian streetfood. But Vegetarians and Vegans beware, They use the same oil to fry the meat as they do the falafel. Massive fail, and a huge disappointment. Sort it out Chick.


  4. I asked about the felafel and the chicken being cooked separately, they told me it is - or there wouldn't be much point catering to vegetarians. coeliacs would be screwed also, given the panko.