Half Moon Cafe
After moving to Australia from Egypt in 1983, Nabil Hassan’s career took many turns. He worked as a taxi driver, an assistant chef and also owned a couple of cafes before deciding to bring a taste of his homeland to Melbourne’s north.
He opened Half Moon in 2003. The modest eatery churns out falafel and kebabs to loyal and satisfied customers. Many dishes cost less than $10 and the servings are generous. It’s no wonder the lunch queue is out the door almost every day of the week.
If you have the time, take a seat outside and enjoy your meal among the activity of the busy Coburg corner. Hassan will be there, chatting to his customers about their days. It feels homey, welcoming and relaxed.
A large glass cabinet takes up almost the entire shop. It’s packed with a rainbow of pickles, vegetables and dips, all to complement the mighty falafel. These golden nuggets are made the authentic Egyptian way – with broad beans (not chickpeas, as you’ll find in most falafel joints) mixed with a generous amount of coriander and parsley.
Watch through the window as the bright green paste is neatly scooped into palm-sized balls before being dropped into hot vegetable oil for just the right amount crunch. Falafel combos might include fried cauliflower, fried eggplant, house-made baba ganoush and yoghurt, or tabouli, chickpeas, olives and hummus (also made on-site).
For an after-lunch treat that’s not sickly sweet, Hassan has a baklava supplier that chooses not to drown his layered pastry treats in too much honey and offers pistachio, cashew and walnut flavours.