[02/28/2015] Naomi and I started off the last day of February with our long-postponed yoga date, followed by a lunch at Nuba. I’ve been dying to try some falafels, and Nuba seemed to a good place to go.
Nuba specializes in fresh, organic, and locally sourced Lebanese food. Many of the options are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free as well! Its first location is in Gastown, and now it has expanded to 3 other locations- one in Kitsilano, and the other two are labelled as “cafes” in Mount Pleasant and Yaletown. We decided to go to the Mount Pleasant store, a convenient offset from Main St. on E 3rd Ave.
As you can see from the reflection off the doors, the store is directly across from Swiss Bakery! Another place on my to-go list. c: However, besides these two stores, the street is pretty vacant.
This cafe carries a 1970s theme, with its bold and fun colours and geometric patterns. Even the servers wore awesome printed outfits, and their hair were all dyed in spunky colours! Along with the upbeat music, you are bound to be set off in a cheerful mood here.
We arrived not much past noon, and there were only a couple of occupied tables. They weren’t too busy during our visit here, though a decent amount of people came in. It was a nice place for Naomi and I to just chat and hang out, without having to scream over crowds of others which tends to happen for a lot of restaurants.
They also have their menu written up on a blackboard. You can see off the side that there are pre-made products that they sell. This includes things like their tabbouleh, hummus, and other dips and you can grab to enjoy at home.
I came here with my heart set on falafels. However, for the two of us, Naomi and I thought that just one entree wasn’t quite enough, whereas two might be too much. With that said, we picked an appetizer to share as well. Having read a few blog posts prior to coming, (pft just a few, I don’t spend all day reading blogs or anything) I suggested to try the Najib’s Special ($8.50). This is essentially deep fried cauliflower, but has an explosion of flavours coming from the lemon juice and sea salt. These nuggets are so crispy, and they paired well with the dips. The green one on the left was refreshing, with a bit of zesty and spicy, whereas the offwhite sauce has a a rich, creamy texture, and a subtle hint of lemon. If you don’t like vegetables, this might change your mind! My only complaint is the unappealing pool of oil that collected at the bottom of the bowl, perhaps they could’ve soaked up more of the grease after frying. 😛 (4/5)
The Falafel Plate ($11.95) comes with 5 pieces of falafels, your choice of roasted potatoes, brown rice, or both, a side salad, pickled cabbage, olives and hummus. The side salad had some organic greens, cucumbers, shredded carrots, and chickpeas, and was dressed in a lemony vinaigrette. I liked the brown rice as well, which was short grained and cooked to a perfect bouncy bite. And we can’t forget about hummus (I’m really not obsessed with hummus, nope)…! The way they plated it is quite fascinating.. and it’s topped with some paprika and drizzles of olive oil too. So creamy and smooth, mm..
Onto the actual falafels! It was my first time trying falafels so I have nothing to compare them to, although Naomi and I both agreed that they were a little too cakey. They are drizzled with a lemon tahini sauce, but otherwise rather bland.. I also wish they were flatter, so there would be more of that crispy outer layer in ratio to the amount of dough. By the way, don’t underestimate how filling these guys are! (3.5/5)
Check out the beautiful green colour! Nuba’s falafels are a combination of chickpeas, fava beans, and evidently, veggies.
We were actually given a bowl of some pita at the very beginning, but we didn’t want to eat them just plain, so we waited to dip them into the hummus. These are served cold, and are very thin and chewy. Naomi and I dipped these into the hummus, then started playing around with our food to make mini wraps ahaha.
I’ll definitely return, perhaps to another location, to try some of their other things! The menu offers such a great variety and the dishes all sound interesting. We were surprised of how satisfying the meal was, for the price we paid. So, if you’re looking for something inexpensive, fresh and healthy (except the deep fried stuff we ordered xD), or another vegetarian/ vegan friendly place to head to, I totally recommend Nuba. (:
Restaurant site: http://www.nuba.ca/