2016 Melbourne Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Moroccan Soup Bar Book Design [DRAFT]

Photo Credit : Principle Photography - Tatjana Plitt


Silver Winner 

Project Overview

Principle Design recreated the vitality of the famed eatery on the pages of 'Moroccan Soup Bar: Recipes of a spoken menu…and a little bit of spice'. Energetic colours, immersive photography and textural collages evoke the true spirit of Moroccan Soup Bar.

Project Commissioner

Melbourne Books

Project Creator

Principle Design


Sash Fernando - Creative Director
Ruwani Fernando - Studio Manager
Julian Brown - Senior Designer
Nicki Hlavacek- Designer
Emily Enrica - Designer
Tatjana Plitt - Principle Photographer

Project Brief

Since opening in 1998 in the heart of North Fitzroy, Moroccan Soup Bar has become a Melbourne institution. After 17 years, owner Hana Assafiri decided to reveal the secrets of her spoken menu in a recipe book.

Principle Design was engaged to design a book that presents the recipes in clear and rational format whilst evoking the unique and sometimes chaotic atmosphere of the restaurant. We chose to utilise bold colours, traditional patterns and engaging photography to create a publication that educates and inspires readers to recreate Hana Assafiri’s recipes.

Project Innovation/Need

'Moroccan Soup Bar: Recipes of a spoken menu…and a little bit of spice' is innovative in its endeavor to chronicle a written menu whilst retaining the mysticism and romance of a spoken menu. We understood that Moroccan Soup Bar’s notoriety comes from its singular character and felt it important to create a book that reflects and amplifies the character through it’s design.

Design Challenge

Our challenge was to capture the eclecticism and structured chaos of Moroccan Soup Bar whilst presenting the recipes in a logical and accessible format.
Energetic colours, immersive photography and textural collages help to recreate the raw, rustic ambience of Moroccan Soup Bar whilst the rich colours form a consistent thread throughout the book to a cohesive tone. Vivid yellows, terracotta reds and deep turquoises were all drawn directly from the décor of the space and the raw ingredients of the food.

The geometric patterns on the book’s endpapers and throughout the pages are interpretations of patterns from Moroccan tiles. In some instances the patterns obscure entire pages, on others small details were reconstructed into a new motifs.

We employed a rustic, authentic approach to the photography within the book. Our photographer sought out diner’s heart-to-hearts and moments of chaos in the kitchen, to honestly capture and immortalise the spirit of Moroccan Soup Bar.

Images of the restaurant overlaid with photographs of Hana overseas, Moroccan monuments and trinkets, and Arabic glyphs, merge to create a travel scrapbook aesthetic which references the source and inspiration behind the recipes.


'Moroccan Soup Bar: Recipes of a spoken menu…and a little bit of spice' was extremely well received. The initial run of books sold out within three months and it has been reprinted. Hana Assafiri and the team at Melbourne Books felt that the design had successfully captured the history behind the recipes and the atmosphere of the restaurant.

The book was named one of ten 'Must Have Vegetarian Books' by Good Food.

This award celebrates creative and innovative design in the traditional or digital visual representation of ideas and messages. Consideration given to clarity of communication and the matching of information style to audience.
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