Yesterday I spent 2 hours out of the office eating 3 pieces of falafel. Gorgeous looking falafel I have to say. But that’s about it. A colleague’s farewell lunch at Exmouth Market ended up at the Mediterranean Sade. Things began on the right note - the reviews were fantastic, we managed to reserve a table, the menu looked great, the prices even better, and when we got there, the sights and smells of a splendidly busy lunch-time open market greeted us, and there was plenty of free sesame bread and hummus on offer.

We took our time deciding what we’d like to eat - from a generous selection of a la carte choices and Express Lunch, set meal, and mezze platter options as well. A nice long menu that made us happy, albeit a tad confused.

Falafel at Sade
Falafel at Sade

I went the Express Lunch way - a starter and mains for £7.95. This is where the falafel fit in. When it eventually arrived, after some nudging. It looked beautiful - tear drop shaped, sitting pretty on a layer of smooth hummus. Now, before I say anything else I have to say this. I love falafel, with all my heart and soul. I’m also given to hyperbole when the mood takes me, I won’t deny it, but I truly do love falafel. So I’m always on the look out for anything that may be better than the best I’ve eaten. And Sade’s definitely looked promising.

I was disappointed. Much too dry and crumbly, and bland. The bits close to the crispy exterior weren’t too bad, but it felt like the flavours just hadn’t seeped into the heart of it. We were well past our allotted one hour by this time, so I had my mains packed away in a take-away box to eat at my desk. Sultan’s delight - aubergine rolls, stuffed with vegetables and beans, baked in tomato sauce with a sprinkling of cheese - served with rice and a salad. Smelled divine. With a name like that, expectations were fairly high.

I have to say, it wasn’t bad at all. Not orgasmic, but definitely tasty. Even in a polystyrene take-away box. But again, it could have done with some stronger flavours.

I’m definitely going back to Exmouth Market, but I’ll give Sade a miss. The open food stalls look very tempting, and I’ve got my eye on the galette stand. Maybe on a warm day, a savoury galette and a bench in the park will be nice.