Kaladkarin Diaries

Ramblings about food, cooking, recipes, travels, history and walking around Manila.

Beni’s Falafel

It’s nice to meet with people over coffee, it’s totally casual and can either be long or short, depending on your shatter mode. Since it’s been awhile since I fired up my food blog, a simple coffee meeting evolved into dinner. Not a fancy dinner, but the usual thing I prefer… hole-in-the-wall places that serves good grub. Well, I decided to go for it since I wasn’t alone. If anything goes wrong, I can always run to the opposite direction without any problem.

I met Nir infront of the A.Venue sign in Makati Ave, since its the easiest landmark to spot. He led the way to our destination. I didn’t know there was a place in Makati Avenue that serves Middle Eastern/ Israeli fare. Looking back, DJ- a friend of mind mentioned something over Shawarma before about falafels… but i couldn’t remember what he said about where the place was (sorry, DJ). I’m pretty familiar with Makati Avenue, as this used to be my playground when I was still working in Makati. When Nir pointed me to Valdez Street, I was familiar with the area… but I never knew the existence of Beni’s Falafel from way back.

As we entered, it was cozy… small but not in a claustrophobic way. The place could probably fit about 15-20 people.  Nir introduced me to the establishment’s proprietor and namesake, Beni- an Israeli expat like Nir, who was very accommodating and nice to explain what was on the menu. Since I absolutely have no clue what to order, Nir took the liberty to order for the both of us while he joked about asking for a candle to make it romantic (he was trying to break the ice… I wasn’t talking too much at that time).

I was so used to Malate for exotic fare that finding something similar in Makati made me curious. I was never fond of vegetarian food too… I eat vegetables, but I would always go for meat if I could. So, orders came… let me show you what they are:
Big Hummus and Falafel P250

Hummus- (left side)   A food dip or spread made from cooked and mashed chick peas blended with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.

Falafel-  (right side)    Deep fried ball from ground chickpeas spiced with herbs (if I’m not mistaken could be chives or sweetwood spices) . Its a traditional Middle Eastern food served with pita bread. Good and crisp exterior without the greasy after taste.
Shakshouka P260
Shakshouka- To make it easier to explain, its eggs poached in a sauce made from tomato puree, onions, peppers and spices. Thick and very tasty and served with pita bread.
Israeli Salad P145 and Pita Bread
Middle Eastern Salad made from tomatoes and cucumber,perfect to chase the creaminess of the hummus and spiced falafel.
As for the pita bread, you can feel the crispiness of the pita as your teeth digs in. Thick and pillowy
The condiments… Tahini, Chili sauce and Amba
Tahini- Sauce made from sesame paste, lemon juice, garlic and other spices. Almost similar to what we use for Shawarma. You could also use this as a dressing for your Middle Eastern Salad if you feel like it.
Skhug- It’s hot chili puree, it can either be green or red in color but Beni’s used red. Originally made with Jalapeno peppers, but Beni did his own twist with a different chili. I like hot and spicy flavors, but this made me think twice before I poured it on my falafel.
Amba- A spicy savory mango condiment. I was a bit skeptical to try it when I heard pickled mangoes as a condiment. But curiousity got the best of me, next thing I knew, i was adding the Amba on my falafel as Nir talked to Beni and the other customers. (he does talk a lot…a contender for Mr. Congeniality… LOL!) As I chew on my food and let my taste buds do their thing, I detected some turmeric in it which contributed to it’s savory flavor. This is good!
Turkish Coffee P85
After dinner, I was offered Turkish Coffee… before I even had the chance to ask about the coffee, Nir and Beni started saying there was nothing “turkish” about the coffee… kinda odd, calling it “Turkish” coffee then. Please excuse the photo, I absentmindedly drank the coffee before taking a photo of it… It reminded me of Batangas Barako coffee, but stronger in flavor.
Beni the proprietor with his Turkish Coffee
Here’s Beni, posing with his coffee. This is when i asked if I could take his picture after we finished our dinner.
Nir… hiding behind his turkish coffee…
This is Nir, the man who introduced me to Israeli food. I wouldn’t have discovered Beni’s Falafel without him. (he seems shy and all, hiding behind his coffee… but he really talks a lot…)
While the menu doesn’t offer a lot of choices like other Middle Eastern establishments, the dishes they serve are good enough to keep clientele coming back. The place is usually packed with expats and locals, enough to draw out your curiosity to eat there in case you haven’t tried their food.

Open 24/7, Beni’s Falafel is located at 4364 Valdez Street, Makati City (infront of Burger Avenue, A. Venue Mall) 


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This entry was posted on September 6, 2014 by in food, food trips, Old posts and tagged , , , , , , , .
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