It started as a small family business—a way for Elias and Nadia Raji Farah, their four children, and the children’s Aunty and Uncle: Nouha and Chafic—to share their culture with their community. A1 Bakery opened in 1992 on Sydney Road, Brunswick, in Victoria, Australia, and quickly rose to local fame with a vast and loyal following. It’s a place where you can find unpretentious authentic Lebanese food served in a no-frills space that feels warm and genuine just like the people who work there. They’re known for their pizzas, pies, pita, and of course, their falafel.
The true origins of the falafel are widely (and often heatedly) debated. Lebanon, Israel, Egypt—there are arguments for each, but their unresolved origins haven’t stopped them from becoming a favourite and staple dish throughout the Middle East. They are a common street food—regularly served in a pita or as part of a mezze—and during Ramadan, falafel are often eaten as part of the iftar, which is the post-sunset meal that breaks the daily fast.
Today, we share with you A1 Bakery’s simple but hearty recipe for their famed falafel.
250g fava beans
2 tsp salt
5 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
½ bunch of coriander
Serves: Makes approximately 50 falafels / Skill level: Easy / Vegan + Gluten Free
1. Place the chickpeas and the fava beans in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and fava beans.
3. Place the chickpeas, fava beans, garlic, onion, coriander and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.
4. Roll the falafel mixture into golf ball-sized balls using the palm of your hands. Gently flatten the balls slightly to form rounds about 2cm (¾ inch) thick.
5. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, or in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, until it reach 175°C (345°F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 20 seconds. Fry the falafel in batches for 3—4 minutes, until crisp and golden. Drain falafels on paper towel to soak up excess oil.
6. Serve the falafels in a pita or as part of a mezze. A1 Bakery serve theirs with a side of lettuce, tomato, pickled turnips and tahini dip.
A1 Bakery is a Lebanese bakery and Middle Eastern grocer located at 643—645 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia.
In Issue No. 1 we meet Australian fashion icon Jenny Kee, translator from Italian Ann Goldstein and French-Cuban music duo Ibeyi. We learn about Ramadan, the Aboriginal ball game Marngrook, the Kiribati dance, the art of pickling, and the importance of home. And we see what it’s like to dress up in Myanmar, live in Cuernavaca, make ceramics from different soil, and walk the streets of Florence.
In Issue No. 2 we meet New York-based Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson, and Croatian painter Stipe Nobilo. We discover how the French protect their language and the way women—all around the world—have used textiles as their political voice. We listen to lovers rock, prepare a boisterous Korean barbecue, venture to go to Feria de Jerez and eat our way around Hong Kong.
In Issue No. 4 we meet Nigerian-born artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, Indigenous Australian Elders Uncle Bob Smith and Aunty Caroline Bradshaw, and Palestinian-American chef and artist Amanny Ahmad. We peer inside the Parisian ateliers Lesage and Lemarié, muse over the iconic lines of European chair design and celebrate the colourful woodblock prints of Japanese artist Awazu Kiyoshi. And we venture along Morocco’s Honey Highway, get lost in the markets of Oaxaca and discover the favours of Ghana.
In Issue No. 5 we travel to the mountains with Etel Adnan, along coastlines wherever waves roll in, and then all over the world through the photographic archive of Lindsay James Stanger. We celebrate hair braiding in South Africa, Salasacan weaving techniques in Ecuador, Vedic jewellery traditions and the new sound of Ukraine. We meet artist Cassi Namoda, choreographer Yang Liping and lace-maker Mark Klauber. And we visit a bakery in Tel Aviv, discover the joys of making arak, and spend a summer stretching mozzarella in Italy.