“It’s about community justice through communal dining, circuit-breaking the cycle of disadvantage for women through employment, while introducing the concept of open hospitality.”
Chickpea bake; eggplant couscous; and cauliflower stew.
No alcohol, no menu, no meat, and no takeaway containers. No problem. The spoken menu is part of Moroccan Soup Bar’s respectful approach. As for the meat and booze, you really don’t miss their absence in this always bustling dining room. It’s partly the sweet mint tea, partly the brilliance of the North African cooking.
The chickpea bake is legendary: a texturally extravagant mix of toasted flatbread crisps and chickpeas with ghee, tahini, and almonds. It’s a measure of charismatic owner Hana Assafiri’s generosity that she’s shared the recipe in her cookbook. Assafiri’s cheeky, too, creating a community initiative called “Speed-Date a Muslim” to provoke discussion and connection.
Most staff, incidentally, are Muslim women, an act Assafiri describes as “positive discrimination”.
And, oh, the food. From vegetable tagines spiked with paprika, turmeric, and preserved lemon to a cavalcade of traditional dips, stews, and soups, it’s as delicious as it is good for you. Take anything left over home (BYO containers). You certainly wouldn’t want it to go to waste.
“There’s a sense of being right in the middle of a bustling grand bazaar while feasting on these authentic North African flavours, with spices, colour, and people all about the room.” Broadsheet
A Moroccan vegetarian community restaurant