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Roman Road’s first dedicated falafel shop builds a fast-growing following in Bow

Since opening earlier this summer, Nur Falafel has built a dedicated customer base, returning for more of Bow’s freshest homemade falafels at affordable prices.

From Elif Cinoplat’s gözleme stall to Sultan Sofrasi Turkish restaurant in the shadow of Stratford’s Olympic Park, Roman Road is peppered with Middle Eastern restaurants and eateries. 

But up until this summer, there has been a noticeable lack of the ever-popular, affordable lunch option: the grab-and-go falafel wrap, pitta or salad box. 

Luckily for those of us that live or work nearby, this gap in the market didn’t go unnoticed by Rayan Farhan from Bethnal Green, opening up Nur Falafel just off the Roman earlier this summer.  

Though the shop has only been open for two months, Farhan has already built up a sizeable base of loyal customers. Out of 62 Google reviews, the shop is yet to receive anything less than a five-star rating, and the comments are filled with messages welcoming Farhan to the neighbourhood. 

Working in various falafel shops for the past two decades, Farhan, who moved from Northern Iraq to East London in 2005, knows that simplicity is key. 

Alongside the popular lahmacun flatbreads, his menu consists of salad boxes, pittas and wraps, that are filled with your choice of falafel, halloumi or chicken. 

With a lahmacun priced at £4 and everything else costing £5.50, there aren’t many remaining independents that offer a cheaper lunch on the Roman

According to Farhan, the falafels are by far the most popular option, which is easy to see why when you visit the shop. Farhan mixes the ground chickpeas, parsley and spices right in front of your eyes, before forming the falafel with an instrument resembling an ice cream scoop and transferring it to the fryer.

The fresh aroma of herbs and spices fills the small shop, accompanied by the sound of falafels gentle frying. 

Priding himself on the quality of his produce, Farhan prepares all the salads and pickles by hand every morning, sourcing most of his produce from Spitalfields Market three times a week. 

The small shop has no space for sit-in dining, though there are a handful of bar stools to perch on while waiting for your order. 

Thriving off his personal interactions with returning customers, Farhan is yet to create a platform for customers to order online as he doesn’t want to compromise the quality or speed of his service. 

So if you’re in the mood for falafel after reading this, you’ll have to make a trip to the Roman. Just look out for the bright orange mural opposite Poundland marking the way. 

Orange mural showing falafel pitta bread pointing the way to Nur Falafel shop off Roman Road.
Mural (in progress!) by Natalie Wooding, @alley_cat7

You can find Nur Falafel just off the Roman at 2A Libra Rd, E3 2HD. 

For more places to eat in the area, find our review of Mexican Seoul taco bar, Bow Wharf’s food fusion restaurant. 

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