It was totally dark and rainy as me, Shawn and our lovely friend Michelle headed towards our destination: The Moroccan Soup Bar. Out of the three of us, Michelle (who, by the way, is the very talented founder, consultant & designer at Subtle Twist) was the only Soup Bar veteran, so she was prepared for the great bounty of Vegetarian-ism ahead. But, Shawn and I had only read stories on Urbanspoon; and eagerly listened to Michelle tell us what we should expect: bare tables, strict sitting times, simple service…but unbelievable amounts of vegetarian food for $25. Awesome.
Being such a wintry night, it’s no shock we overshot our target. But the only thing that clued us onto the fact we passed this completely understated shop-front was the (very) long line snaking around the corner from it. Yes there’s a sign, but no real signage. Wow, people were actually lined up in the cold rain – with & without umbrellas – to get in.
We re-routed and unloaded the car near a park opposite. As we approached we noticed the entire line gone! No menu, no one to greet you. Just crowds of people squished in here and there. And those smirking early birders who luckily got tables for the first 6pm sitting. Shoot, we just missed out.
Michelle’s name got scribbled down on a napkin for the next sitting at 7.20pm. We won’t be late. We promise. So we slowly squeeze down the narrow pathway between tables passing happy people dunking breads into dips.
So we pop back outside into the cold. It’s very cold. But luckily there’s a wine bar next door (literally) called The Monkey Bar. How convenient! A warm place to sit & drink for exactly 1 hour and 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure the Monkey Bar’s positioning was quite strategic. The place was full of familiar faces. Oh yeah! Those were the same faces we saw leaving the Soup Bar with us because they missed the first sitting, too! Yeah, yeah – wine was good at the bar, but we all only had eyes for the Soup Bar.
7.20pm comes and nearly the entire bar empties out. Chow’s on!
|2nd Course with the Amazing Chickpea
We get the table allllll the way down the back, next to the drink fridge and counter. It’s pretty tight. The table’s kinda wobbly. Shawn can’t move. Michelle and I are getting elbowed by server’s passing by. But for some reason we all feel lucky! We’re promptly asked which menu we’d like, “We’ll have the $25 banquet thanks” then we’re quickly asked “Any food allergies or anything?” We say “no” (and the owner does a silent “YESSSS!”) and the food starts rolling out.
First up, the entree. 10 small plates/dishes of dips, assorted nibblies and cut up pita/flat bread. Baba Ganush = brilliant & smoky. Haloumi Salsa = Outstanding. Beet Root dip = Divine. Hummus = just what it ought to be. And everything else was tasty and met all expectations. Now, we’re all friends here, but for a brief moment, we all sneakily eyed each other off. As Michelle says “ooohhhh that’s good”, I dunk into another gooshing “you have got to try that!”, while secretly assessing just how polite we had to be to each other during this fight, errrr, sharing of the first course. Needless to say, all plates get wiped clean. Bread’s gone. We’re still friends…Just. 🙂
|3rd course: a little small for the 3 of us, but still yummy!|
Second course consisted of 3 plates/bowls: Vegetable Tagine, Lentils/Yogurt/Rice, and the Amazing Chickpea Showstopper. Tagine was pretty good, soft vegies in more subtle spices. The lentils/yogurt/rice plate was full of flavour – I’d say easily second best to….The Amazing Chickpea Showstopper!! Layered with chickpeas, cut-up pita/flat bread (soft & crunchy), yogurt, paprika and a drizzling of honey….Oh. My. Goodness. More please. More.
Tummies full, we weren’t deterred from dessert, but I think we were all a little disappointed to see such a small plate presented after all the glorious abundance that preceded it. A Turkish delight-filled round donut, a small coconut cluster, and a small piece of Baklava. But we turned our frowns upside-down because they were all lovely, just not enough. (Clearly, we were prepared to devour mass food for this night out!) Coffee was good and strong…I think I stayed up for 2 days straight afterwards!
One word for you my friend: Go.