Moroccan Soup Bar
Moroccan Soup Bar is a Melbourne institution. It’s been providing employment, nourishment and community to some of society’s most marginalised people since opening on St Georges Road in 1998. In late 2020 it moved to this new space up the road.
There are now six dining rooms, which means that getting a seat here is easier than it once was. Intricate patterned tiling and the deep tangerine and royal blue hues of a Moroccan medina are found throughout the restaurant, but each room is individually themed to represent a cause close to owner and chef Hana Assafiri’s heart.
The Garden Room, for instance, is a leafy courtyard focused on environmental issues and the challenges facing First Nations people. There are quizzes and conversations relating to each room’s theme on every table – and enough correct answers may even score you a free meal.
Once you’re seated, you’ll be offered a sweet and refreshing glass of warm mint tea (there’s no alcohol served here) to enjoy while your server provides the menu verbally, strongly suggesting the banquet.
Dishes include traditional staples such as muhammara (roasted red pepper dip), kibbeh (Lebanese croquettes) and shish barak (Lebanese-style dumplings). The chickpea bake, which combines tahini, yoghurt, almonds and shards of crisp flatbread, is a bestseller.
Hearty Moroccan soups – spinach and lentil, to name one – are available year-round, and sell out at alarming speed during winter.