Australia may have lost its only Maoz outlet when the Perth store shut up shop, but at least I’m still able to delight in their crunchy falafel goodness here in London.
Maoz Vegetarian is a chain of falafel bars that originated when their first store front opened in Amsterdam during 1991. Since then, the company has franchised locations all around the world. They serve delicious falafel, salad and tahini masterpieces in cities as widespread and diverse as Madrid, Hoboken, Paris, Rotterdam and Berkeley. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough falafel lovers in Western Australia to keep the doors of the Perth outlet open. I believe a Maoz in Germany might have also fallen by the wayside. But luckily for fine food connoisseurs, 15 Maoz locations are still left standing for our eating pleasure.
Maoz is a success because they keep it simple. Customers order the type of pita and falafel they want before proceeding to fill their sandwich with delights from the salad, vegetable and dressing bar. As their website states, the combination on offer is always fresh, filling and fast. My last visit to the London branch saw me stacking my pita pocket out with cooked cauliflower, cabbage and carrot before I drizzled the vegan tahini dressing across everything. I even went all out and ordered the extra fried eggplant as a tasty addition. Add to this a side order of Belgian fries and I was in FGV heaven.
An interesting side-note for visitors to Maoz London…. the restaurant is situated literally opposite the Admiral Duncan. The Admiral Duncan is a gay bar that holds much historical and social significance for queer Londoners. On 30 April 1999, Neo-Nazi David Copeland detonated a nail bomb inside the venue killing 3 patrons and injuring a further 70. The explosion not only destroyed the lives of the many people directly affected, it also tore a huge hole in the heart of the LGBT community. The attack was part of a wider campaign to stir tensions within queer and ethnic groups.
As devastating as the attack was, I believe it serves as a confronting but useful reminder of the violence still directed at queer communities all over the world. It brought many members of the LGBT community together to stand tall against queerphobic violence as they rallied to resist the effects of the violent attack.
A memorial plaque sits within the walls of the rebuilt Admiral Duncan. Why not stop for a cruelty-free lunch in Maoz before taking a few steps across the street to celebrate the lives of all the people devastated by the bombing. We can resist and challenge non-human animals being exploited while simultaneously celebrating the spirit and resilience of survivors of hate crimes.
Maoz Vegetarian, 43 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 6HG
The Admiral Duncan, 54 Old Compton St, London, W1D 4UB