How I Melbourne: Louisa Allan and Shuki Rosenboim

Published on 31 October 2019

Photo: Shuki Rosenboim and Louisa Allan (photo: Madz Rehorek)

Very Good Falafel more than delivers on its promise. Though its principals Louisa Allen and Shuki Rosenboim met by accident in a Melbourne share-house, they seem almost fated for the job. Louisa’s family farms pulses and grains in the Mallee, while Shuki was all but raised on falafel in Israel. They found a following selling their wares around the city’s markets before settling into a permanent home on Sydney Road in Brunswick in 2016.

Our defining food moment in Melbourne was being part of farmers’ markets! When we first started our business, we did four or five farmers’ markets a week, selling hummus, babaganoush and other dips. It was such a great experience, both working each week alongside farmers, selling to customers who cared about where their food came from and also, business-wise, being able to kick off with very few overheads. It really gave us a great start, as well as being a wonderful, inspiring way to spend a weekend surrounded by lots of great produce and people

We know we’re in Melbourne when, in the warmer months, we head out to Merri Creek or Edinburgh Gardens with a picnic of Loafer bread, home-made salads and wine from the best wine shop in Australia, Cult of the Vine. We love eating outdoors when the weather allows. 

When Shuki wants to go nuts on a meal,he cooks at home. I go shopping at our local Brunswick market, Royal Nut, and Istanbul Butchers and make a big feast. I get it from my Mum; she will Facetime me from Israel just to watch me eat.

There’s no better value in Melbourne than Al Alamy bakery in Coburg for Lebanese baked goods, ful and groceries. We also like Sehzade Turkish Bakehouse in Campbellfield. The all-women team makes some really delicious home-style Turkish food, bread and char-grilled meats to have with tea. Oh, and Khabbay in North Carlton for Pakistani-style grilled fish, dahl and biryani.

When I want to dazzle friends from out of town, we like to go to Embla. The food is always great, and they always kill it with the vegetable dishes, wine list and service. 

And when we want to take a little taste of Victoria when we travel, we pack Mallee-grown chickpeas. Freshness is so important when it comes to pulses and the ones grown in the Mallee are always a good bet.

In the mornings you’ll find Louisa at Juanito’s. The pastrami roll is addictive and Juan himself is a great host.

Shuki’s local is Neighbourhood Food and Wine. I love the food and it’s always a friendly, warm vibe.

If we could change one thing about eating and drinking here we’d love to see more great affordable options. Not a whole lot of people can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on dinner, so we’d love to see more attention given to what the vast majority of people can afford and are eating. If we focus there, we have a much greater chance of making a difference in terms of sustainability and building more diverse voices in food.  

But the one thing we hope never changes in Melbourne is being able to find food from all over the world. It’s something we both really miss when we leave Melbourne, being able to find restaurants and ingredients from so many diverse places. 

To try the very goodness, head to Very Good Falafel at 629 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, (03) 9383 6479, shukiandlouisa.com. Or play from home by following @shukiandlouisa on Instagram.

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