Liverpool's 'top-rated' takeaway is found in a shipping container on one of its busiest streets

Mohammed Younis, wearing jeans and a white shirt, standing in the door of Falafel Chef on Lodge Lane, Toxteth
-Credit: (Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

A life-changing moment led a man to establish Liverpool's 'top-rated' takeaway.

Mo Younis, 32, runs Falafel Chef - a takeaway found in the village of shipping containers on Toxteth's Lodge Lane. The restaurant has a perfect review score of five out of five on Just Eat, but running the business was never really part of Mo's plan.

He didn't even intend to settle in Liverpool. Originally from Gaza, he moved to Egypt to study and then came to Liverpool to study English.

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However, he lost his job in Egypt and had his visa rejected, so he had to stay in England and was granted refugee status. As a result, he has lived in Liverpool since 2018 and has been very happy to make the city his home.

He told the ECHO: "I went to a solicitor in town and he advised me that the only option I had at the time was to stay in Liverpool. It was a coincidence that it happened but it has been the most lovely coincidence and it changed my life."

That started Mo on the path to open Falafel Chef, which has served takeaway food from its tiny shipping container premises since November 2018.

Mo said: "I've always loved cooking, but when the pandemic started, I was working full time doing admin with solicitors and I was interpreting as well.

"I then started to do delivery for Amazon, Uber Eats and things like that. It was extra income, I saved it and then I managed to open my business.

"I was surprised that I could find a place for the price I did. Someone had closed their business here, so I took over and changed it.

"I started with £5,000, which I saved in the pandemic. When I think about it, I never expected it but people here were really supportive.

The food from Falafel Chef on Lodge Lane
The food from Falafel Chef on Lodge Lane -Credit:Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo

"I never imagined the support of my customers and the locals here. This part of the city is lovely during lunchtime and in the summer, people having food here and chilling - it's a really good vibe."

Customers have really taken to Falafel Chef's offering, which has a small menu based around the Middle Easter fritter. Mo wanted to make sure he did justice to the dish.

He explained: "I wanted to open something very simple, to make only one item which is fresh. The salad is fresh, we make the falafel every two hours so it's fresh.

"By 10pm, I will have nothing in the fridge, so I don't even need to put stickers for the date because there are no leftovers. It's all freshly made daily. I didn't expect it to take off, but people seem to love it.

"It was hard at the beginning. Everyone sells falafel but I know the best falafel is when it's fresh and authentic - it tastes different. I just wanted to try doing it and it works.

"One of the customers said that we had the highest rating in Liverpool. He showed up and said 'show me what you've got'. He said we were top on Just Eat, I said 'hold on a second, I'm not aware of this'.

As he spoke to the ECHO, Mo took his phone out to show Falafel Chef's page on Just Eat. He scrolled through reams and reams of five star reviews. The takeaway currently has an average rating of five out of five, from almost 300 reviews.

"Recently I've been told it's the highest rated", Mo said. "We've got nearly 300 reviews and not even a single one is 4.5 stars, it's all five.

"It makes my day every day when I see a review. That's the first thing I check in the morning and that makes my day. People write lovely reviews, so I can't really complain."

Mo, who lives in the Toxteth area, is very happy working on Lodge Lane. The road has become a hotspot for great food, with the shipping container village playing a key role.

He said: "It's a really nice multicultural area, people love Lodge Lane. I have friends who come from Manchester for the food from around the containers here.

"You have everything here. Mediterranean food, Chinese, Korean, Shawarma. If I didn't have a shop here, I would still be coming here to have food every day."

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