Sometimes for lunch I just go where I'm taken (actually that's most times when Big Fil takes it into his head he wants to visit somewhere in particular). Other times neither of us can make a decision and we both wing it and go somewhere on the spur of the moment ... which is how we ended up at Soul Soup Café.
It's an easy ten minutes walk from work but just that little bit out of the CBD in Carlton, which edges a day towards feeling like a non-work day. And when you add in a dose of sunshine in a pretty courtyard ... it pushed the day into the special category.
The menu isn't huge: two soups each day, pre-made fillings in Turkish bread rolls they heat up as you wait, a few muffins and donuts, and yoghurt/rice pudding. In the end we managed a reasonable sample of what was on offer given there was only the two of us.
I went for the brown lentil soup and it arrived in a huge bowl together with Turkish bread and butter. The serving seemed almost twice the usual amount and was filled with lentils and vegetables. There was nothing miserly about the soup.
Big Fil opted for a toasted bacon, scrambled eggs and tomato relish roll. The roll was large but the bacon was undercooked and it could probably have been warmer. A little disappointing compared to the soup.
Big Fil is also a particular fan of rice pudding and thought the rice pudding was bit better than the toasted sandwich, quite creamy, with nutmeg sprinkled on top.
The standard of food differed between homemade soup of a much higher quality compared with pre-prepared sandwiches. But the overwhelmingly best things about this café are the reading room with sofas and the outside courtyard. The two comfy facing sofas, coffee table and bookshelf looked just right for a cold winter's day, the courtyard for a day when the sun is out. Fortunately, we arrived on a warm day and got to sit outside in the courtyard. The courtyard (if not the food) reminded me a lot of Fandango in North Melbourne, but without the walk through the kitchen to get there ... definitely an improvement.
Food - 6.5
Ambience - 8
Service - 6.5
Price - 8
55 Cardigan Street
Carlton VIC 305
Tel: (04) 0325 4358