Soup in the city
Nonna would be proud of this chunky minestrone soup. Packed with peas, carrot, zucchini, silverbeet, beans and celery, it’s your daily veggie quota swimming in a tomato base. It comes with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and there’s even some tube pasta in there for good measure. Served with fresh buttered bread, this is as authentic Italian as you’re going to get outside the Boot.
This laneway soup bar will warm you from the inside out in more ways than one. See that wall covered in post-it notes with messages like “Be safe tonight, you are important”? They’re from generous folk who have tacked an extra $3.50 onto their $7.50 bowl of soup to feed a homeless person in Melbourne. The Soup Place call it a 'pay it forward' system. On a winter day, there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of creamy, chunky soup ladled straight from a big, black kettle and served with crusty baguette.
Soi 38’s life-giving boat noodle bowls will make you feel warm and cozy almost as soon as you smell the steaming broth. Go with the beef boat noodles that harness the sinus-clearing qualities of a hot and fragrant mix of chilli, star anise, lemongrass and galangal. Our bowl was topped with tender braised beef, beef balls, kangkong (water spinach), and fresh bean sprouts to help line your ribs.
They do one thing at Pho Chu The and they do it well. Their piping hot bowls of pho come out fast, and the huge bowls are decked out with spring onion, coriander and tender noodles. The broth is dark and salty from the bone marrow, and you should try the 'Special beef' if you're game for some offal in your soup. Vegetarians, you’ll have to ask nicely for the vego option.
Could Old Raffles Place’s Bishan laksa be one of Melbourne’s best vegie laksas? We think so. Their creamy coconut-based noodle soup is big on peppery heat and is scattered with generous helpings of fried eggplant cubes, okra, snowpeas, bok choy and tofu. Unfortunately they use pork lard to cook dishes here, which is good news for meat-eaters, but makes this vegie laksa a no-go for vegetarians.
Sometimes we wish Shop Ramen sold their shoyu soup in takeaway cups for that afternoon pick-me-up, but until they do we’ll just have to keep ordering the pork belly ramen. The ramen’s clear broth with a light, soy sauce seasoning cuts through the richness of the slab of pork belly, which adds a smokiness to the soup. Don’t be afraid to make some noise when you slurp those al dente, handmade noodles.
Chef Shannon Martinez has made a name for herself creating vegan versions of her soul-warming Spanish family recipes. This hearty, velvet-smooth soup thickened with pureed chickpeas and made spicy with piquillo peppers is one of her most comforting creations yet.
If you think Vietnamese noodle soups have light broths, try Hem 27’s banh canh cua, a rich soup made with silky tapioca noodles that are similar to udon. The thick crab gravy soup is slightly spicy and tangy, with flecks of crab meat. Toppings are generous – there’s fish cakes, mushrooms, and pork loaf – but the crowning glory is the deep fried soft shell crab.