Author(s): Hana Assafiri
Drive down St George's Road in North Fitzroy on the evenings the Soup Bar is open and you'll find a queue stretching out the door and around the corner. With its brightly coloured interior, refreshing spoken menu and flavourful Moroccan cuisine, The Soup Bar over the past 16 years has become a Melbourne institution. More than just a restaurant, the Moroccan Soup Bar is founded on a philosophy, what Hana describes as 'a vision whose primary objective was not monetary, where everyone who visited, whether a one-time visitor or repeat customer, felt their senses were stimulated...to share experiences, and walk away a little changed as a consequence.' Hana, head cook and owner, is releasing a cookbook of the wonderful vegetarian dishes served every night at the restaurant. Her devoted customers have sought the secrets of her recipes, in particular the famed chickpea bake, a dish so delicious it's won awards. Now the public will have the chance to recreate these beautiful, flavoursome recipes in their own homes. There's even a recipe for the restaurant's wall paint, passed down to Hana from her father. The book reflects the atmosphere of the Soup Bar - warm, welcoming and colourful. The recipes prove you don't need to include meat in a meal to make it taste delicious. Laced with stories of meetings at the Soup Bar, of the plight of women, of Moroccan culture and of hope for a more inclusive future, Hana's book will provide a colourful, spiced oasis in any enthusiastic cook's recipe book collection.