Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Moroccan Soup Bar - North Fitzroy - Vego/Middle Eastern

Moroccan Soup Bar

Cuisine: Vegetarian, Middle Eastern
Address: 183 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
Phone: (03) 9482-4240
Hours: Dinner only (6-10pm) Tue-Sun
Prices: Very cheap!

The striking looking owner comes over to the table with little glasses of sweet mint tea. She kneels beside us and asks, “Have you been here before?” For newcomers there is a preamble about the menu being verbal, yes there is soup, but also a range of dips, vegetable and grain dishes and Middle Eastern pastries. For regulars it’s easy, she asks you to gauge how hungry you are and then brings a stream of tasty food. This is the banquet, which can be lacto or vegan according to your requirements and from mint tea through to the shot of Moroccan coffee with dessert it will cost you about $16.50.

Dips are usually yoghurt or tahini based and come with some pickles, olives and pitta bread. My favourite is one made from cauliflower and was good to see it still on the menu when a group of us ate there recently. The spread this night for mains included – fried eggplant and spicy rice, chickpeas in a tangy yoghurt sauce on pitta, couscous with large chunks of vegetable in a flavoursome stew, a potato based dish with of lemon and tahini and finally a plainer rice and lentil plate. The amount was judged perfectly. The noninsomniacs followed it with the strong, sweet thimble full of coffee and we all tasted the dainty pastries. Other than baklava the stand out was a finger shaped biscuit spiked with rosewater and filled with a figs.

The Moroccan Soup Bar is tasty and cheap but I have a few minor niggles. Only groups of 6 or more can book a table and being a small restaurants it means unless you turn up before 6.30-7 pm it can be a long wait. There is no ‘bar’ to sidle up to, as this is a tea total (Muslim) establishment. On that note, men should be careful to not accidentally touch the women working there as that breaks some cultural taboos.

Friends from across the Yarra who may feel uncomfortable in the eclectically shabby surrounds might prefer the more up market Middle Eastern locals (Zum Zum or Najla). But for the rest of us, the Moroccan Soup Bar will do just fine for feel good, healthy food with a twist.

Review by another outspoken female


Mel said...

I'm not into vegetarian foods but damn if this doesn't make me want to change my carnivorous ways ... for an evening.
Lovely review, AOF.

sublime-ation said...

I was thrilled when I saw that someone had reviewed this place, it's one of my faves.
The closest I have ever got to heaven was tasting Hannah's Chickpea Bake at the Moroccan Soup Bar: I don't know how the woman makes chickpeas taste as delicious as the most delicious chocolate you've ever tasted, but she's some sort of miracle worker.
The only thing that annoys me about the place is, like you said, the strange booking procedures and the difficulty of getting a table.

Another Outspoken Female said...

,,hence I'm a saint or just stupid to remind the world of the wonders of this venue. Darned if there's going to be a queue to get a table when it opens at 6pm!

chocolate?! what chocolate???? *drools at the thoughts of it*

Chai said...

Good god. You're making me salivate. I could handle a pita bread dunked in whatever lentil soup they have right NOW. *drools*

Susanne said...

I love this place!

I will have to go there again soon.

sublime-ation said...

Yes, AOF, perhaps we should employ MG's code?

Chai: It's Chickpea BAKE. Sounds like some dish that I pretended to myself that I knew what it was when I was a child watching American shows on t.v. (Meatloaf anyone? Don't pretend you knew what the hell it was when you were 8), tastes as good as French chocolate.

Husky Nutmeg said...

Sounds too good to be true. Good thing it time to cook tea because I'm so hungry I could eat a hor... broccholi.

sheriff of nothing said...

I have heard so many good things about this place but have never been there...Now I will make an effort without a doubt, this week! Love a good vego review.

Justine said...

Great review, AOF!

If you want take-aways from Moroccan Soup, you take your own containers. Anything will do. Tupperware, bowls, empty marg containers. As many little containers as you bring, she'll fill with different dips and bits and pieces.

I know it is a non-alcohol place, but, are they totally stoner friendly or what? (Or is that just me?)

Anonymous said...

I went there for the 1st time tonight, and was disappointed. Tried the 7 veg couscous and chicpea bake. Decent food, but more expensive than was told and definately food you could make yourself at home with little effort. Perhaps had too higher expectations after only reading positive reviews. Glad I went but nothing special.

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