Before opening Moroccan Deli-cacy in Brunswick, Hana Assafiri had already hooked many in Melbourne on North African cuisine via Fitzroy North’s Moroccan Soup Bar.
The deli space in Brunswick is decorated with specially painted crockery, tiling and handmade mosaics imported from Morocco, and long communal tables.
It sells the basics of Arabic cooking. The trays of almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds are roasted in-house, and the ras el hanout, dukkah and za’atar are mixed by hand. Cabinets brim with brightly coloured bowls of preserved olives and lemons, fresh hummus, tabouleh, labneh and shanklish. Silver plates are piled with fennel-flavoured shortbreads and stubby, sweet pastries called Zanab’s Fingers.
From 9am to 11.30am, the kitchen serves set breakfasts in either sweet or savoury varieties, which may contain eggy chakchouka with house-made harissa, or baghrir, a sweet Moroccan pancake with lemon-zested ricotta, caramelised fruit and nuts. One-plate lunches are available week round, with selections of cous-cous salads, haloumi, grilled vegetables and falafel. Assifiri is planning take-home tagines.