We're not sure which news fans of North Fitzroy's Moroccan Soup Bar will be more excited about: that owner Hana Assafiri is opening a second Melbourne business, or that she's writing a book that will reveal recipes for some of MSB's most beloved vegetarian dishes.
Fresh from a trip to Morocco where she sourced a fitout for the new business, Assafiri has signed the lease for a site in Brunswick East and hopes to open in about October. "Moroccan Soup Bar is bursting at the seams and this will be a natural extension of the work we do there," she said. The new business – Moroccan Soup Bar Deli-cacy – will sell preserves, pickles, nuts, breads and cheeses before a second space at the rear opens as a canteen catering to daytime crowds. Assafiri also plans to develop the second floor as a teaching and events space, envisioning "women sharing recipes".
Assafiri said the building – a long-standing food business – had been earmarked for a restaurant and apartments but new owner Vince Murone was open to her vision, leasing the space to her for eight to 12 years.
Assafiri is also working with publisher Melbourne Books on Moroccan Soup Bar: Recipes of a spoken menu. The book will tell the story of the North Fitzroy restaurant, which opened in 1998, and the women who have worked there. The best bit? It will include the recipe for Assafiri's famous chickpea-yoghurt bake.