Superb Soups

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Superb Soups

And there you have it. Some of the more poignant and resonating words the Mighty Boosh came up with; a homage to my favourite winter staple. Soup isn’t just another meal you force into your hangry* gob in order to silence those demanding midday gut gurgles. Soup is your friend, your compadre, more than a mere source of sustenance Since my health care card was untimely ripped from my penny-pinching hands, I am now in a constant cycle of skrimping, which is why I recently combined my physical check-up with a therapy session by visiting my local quack (naturopath slash GP). I felt a bit jipped when all I got was some sort of lousy witch’s potion and told that I need to eat more soup in order to cure my never-say-die cold. Moresoup? All my pots are full and my ladels dirty! So I hit the streets and sourced some of the city’s finest soups on my most pathetic budget. Doctor’s orders!


Moroccan Soup Kitchen


183 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North


If you’re hangry, save this spot for another occasion. You’ll wait an hour for your table, longer if you’ve foolishly decided to bring a bunch of mates. Although service is swift once you snag a seat, you might be crying with starvation by this point. On the up side, you won’t have to read a menu through your tears if your bohemian waitress convinces you to go with the banquet. Banquets aside, the soup itself is divine. No idea what they put in it but it’s spicy and sweet and it’s making me crazy for more. Moroccan Soup Kitchen is fragrant with North African hospitality. Bring your own container and take it home to eat with your cat in front of the fire. If you want to spend a bit more and go the whole hog with that banquet though, wear elastic pants and don’t be afraid to not finish what’s on your plate. I think I actually started dozing off at the table after my meal. Is that a sign of good health or gluttonous overindulgence?


In A Rush (The Soup Place)


Centre Place, Melbourne


I had no idea this place was a chain! It seemed so grungy and indie! Apart from feeling slightly jipped by this realisation, the fact is the soup is cheap and it’s bloody quick. I get overwhelmed by too many options so it’s a relief when all I need to do is eeny-meeny between half a dozen options clearly labelled in cauldrons at the front of this hole-in-the-wall kitchen. Centre Place, Degraves Street, buzzes with activity during a midweek lunch hour and The Soup Place does a ripping trade. It ticks the boxes – warming, filling and leaving me with some change for a beer later on. I’m sure that quack mentioned beer on her list of things to help my immune system…


Soul Soup Café


55 Cardigan St, Carlton


In the heart of tight-arse territory, betwixt RMIT and Melbourne University, lies an understated terrace full to the brim with affordable lunchtime offerings. Plenty of veg and vegan options or, if you’re after a carnivorous winner, dip that spoon into a bowl of the sensational Chorizo and Chickpea soup. Maggie, joint owner of Soul Soup Café, knows that homestyle cooking is just what the uni doctor ordered and a humble broth from her kitchen is designed to soothe the body and soul. “The moral of the ‘Stone Soup’ fable is that soup can be made from nothing at all but stones, water and generosity,” Maggie explains when I ask her to reveal her soup secret. “We like to think that the secret to our soups is just that – a bit of this, a bit of that but, most importantly, love and a bit of soul.” Mmm, delicious soul.


It’s not hard to find yourself in front of a steaming bowl of something sloppy and brilliant in this city and, if you’ve forgotten to report to Centrelink this fortnight and need a feed that any good quack would give the nod to, do your body a favour and pick the Soup of the Day.


* You know, when you’re so hungry you’re angry. It’s what happens to babies most moments of the day. Babies, and me.