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London vs World

Sarah Jeffs (UCL Natural Sciences MSci 2014) explains why the King of Falafel, Camden, takes the pitta.

Photograph Alun Callender


The King of Falafel is more than just a vendor of everything your heart desires… smothered in sauce and served with chips and salad

Cancel the air ticket. Unpack your bags. The humble concoction of chickpea and spice may hail from the Middle East, but in my opinion to sample the best falafel in the world you need journey no further than… Camden, and the King of Falafel.

For students, the hunger pangs on the way home at silly o’clock in the morning are a common experience. And whether you were at the halls on Camden Road, lived amongst the punks and the markets, or were simply a fan of the fact that it has a pub on virtually every corner, Camden draws in many a UCL student. The high street is a mecca for late night solutions to your desperate want for something tasty.

So why is the King of Falafel, quite simply, late-night eating establishment royalty and a UCL institution? It could be the sheer diversity of delicacies on offer, from chips and various kebabs to a whole variety of different, authentic chilli sauces. But delicious as these are, it is the falafel that really brings in the crowds. And no wonder. Perfectly crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, these chickpeas have been transformed into heavenly little balls of goodness.

But the King of Falafel, right opposite Camden Town tube station, is more than just a vendor of everything your heart desires, wrapped up, smothered in sauce and served with chips and salad. This place has a familiar and comforting atmosphere. This is in part due to very enthusiastic staff, but owes as much to the fact that, more than likely, you will bump into fellow students, someone you met by the bar or somewhere in the queue on a previous night out.

Importantly, this establishment is un-waveringly loyal. Not for its customers is the angst caused by a shattered dream of chips never eaten: the King remains open all night. By which I really mean well into the day, having visited this establishment post 6am after a very late finishing summer ball, and frequently at other rather anti-social hours.

For the combination of quality food, atmosphere and a willingness to cater to hunger pangs around the clock, the King of Falafel reigns supreme. So should you end up passing through Camden with a desire for a late-night food adventure, you know what to do.

Sarah Jeffs is a CASE intern at UCL.

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Portico Issue 1. 2014/15