Yalla Bala Opens a Takeaway Window in Leederville

Yalla Bala

The first time I tried Yalla Bala’s food was at a Saturday pop-up at Micrology earlier this year. I was familiar with the business, but didn’t think of myself as a “hummus-person” until I became hooked that day. The creation of former support worker Benji Kotkis, Yalla Bala is a labour of love; it’s the kind of local, family-run business we need more of.

“I’ve always loved Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Levantine sort of food. From a young age, I was always in the kitchen cooking,” says Benji. “During Covid, I would make hummus and zhug (green hot sauce), and people would come and grab it from my apartment. For two years straight I would make falafels every night to try to find the recipe that worked. I nagged some of the best Middle Eastern chefs around the world for falafel recipes.”

Yalla Bala

Following an impressive array of pop-ups – including Micrology, Mane Liquor and even Brendan Pang’s 30th birthday – Yalla Bala’s products made their way into gourmet supermarkets across Perth. Now, it has a permanent take-away window on Electric Lane in The Leederville Precinct . It’s easy to spot; simply look for the gaggle of eager diners that forms shortly after 11am.

Yalla Bala

The Yalla Bala menu is short, but that doesn’t matter when your product is this good. Falafel or Chicken shawarma, pita or plate, salad, hummus, spicy kosher pickles (from The Epicurian Foodie), sumac onions, tahini, Amba sauce… whatever you choose, expect a delicious combination of textures and flavours you don’t get every day. My tip: get the pita for a unique, handheld treat.

“I wanted to do a super small menu, then add specials. I want it to be efficient and affordable,” says Benji. “We use recipes from different parts of the Middle East. Our hot sauce is from Yemen, our amba sauce (fermented mango) is from Iraq. I used to have Young Levain making the pita bread, but when he went to Melbourne we had to work on it and make our own.”

Yalla Bala
Yalla Bala

Benji is one of the humblest operators on the Perth food scene, and it’s clear that he, his family and the Yalla Bala crew simply enjoy serving the food they love. Talk to other business owners who have worked with him, and they’ll tell you he cares as much about their business as he does his own.

“I’m not a chef but I really studied, you’ve got to learn from people that are better than you,” he says. “I’ve always got people like Matt & Tom Shaw (Hoodburger), Simon Kony (Short Order), Jacob D’Vauz (former Rockpool, Tiny’s and many others) to ask for help.”

Yalla Bala

Pleasantries (and friendly service) aside, the food is excellent and unlike anything a lot of Perth diners will have tried. If, like many of us, you crave a different lunch experience, Yalla Bala should be high on your to-do list. Dinner services are in the pipeline.

And whatever you do, make sure you add chips to your pita.

Yalla Bala
9 Electric Lane, Leederville WA 6007
Wed-Sat 11am – 2pm (or earlier if sold out)


About the author


Martin was born in England but now lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has a passion for breakfast, coffee, hot curries & fast food, and is a cat & Dalek person.

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