The eastern mediterranean / middle eastern new wave food reinvention in Melbourne arguably began with Mankoushe in Brunswick several years ago. They took staples from cheap and cheerful icons from Sydney Road Lebanese bakeries, influenced by the current street food trend, and made something awesome. I can’t believe I never wrote about them, but I have eaten their pizzas a lot.
United Arab Eatery (initially in Northcote) was another early example of this. And Rumi (similarly enjoyed but not reviewed, but that’s more restaurant than cafe). Now there’s Goz City, Teta Mona and Very Good Falafel. They’re all great.
A new place has just opened on St George’s Rd in North Fitzroy, in the building that previously housed The Singing Whale toy shop. Just Falafs is like Very Good Falafel but closer (to me), which is very very good. This is the haloumi falafel, which contains falafel, fried haloumi, cabbage, cauliflower and pickled cucumber and chillies. The menu is all vegetarian, there’s a bit of seating inside but with Edinburgh Gardens almost across the road there’s more opportunity for a falafel picnic.