Falafel King does not look like much. It’s a simple kiosk in the back of St Petersburg’s largest groceries market, the Sennoy, but for years and years, it did what no other place does as well: provide nice, Arabic-style falafel at bargain prices.
Falafel King is run by Middle Eastern expats, some of whom seem to have been displaced by the war in Syria, but it’s doesn’t quite fit the cliches. Sometimes you hear metal music blasting out of the kiosk, and the chefs obviously make an effort to cater to the vegan segment of their audience, offering soya milk and vegan sauces.
The falafel kingdom started with this takeaway kiosk, which was awarded by the local hipster website The Village. It has now expanded to include a 24-hours cafe in the Five Corners area. But it still remains a simple affair, no seating and cash only.
It is fairly tricky to find, but walking in from the Fontanka embankment helps. There will be some second-hand clothes stalls on your left, go a little forward and to the left, and the Falafel King is there, next to an auto barrier. There are several more vegetarian places next to it, but I know of few better ways to spend your money other than on something called ‘Falafel Pita Super’, which has fried eggplant, hummus and French fries added to the wrap. Just writing this made me hungry!