Winter is upon us here in Sydney, which means that it is finally soup season! I love soup because it is the ultimate lazy person’s meal – there’s generally no need to chew, you still get to taste delicious flavours and end up with a full stomach.
I recently heard about a place in the MetCentre at Wynyard that is solely dedicated to different kinds of soup – the appropriately named Croutons Soup Bar, tucked away next to the Jamison Street entrance. I’m a sucker for crunchy croutons with my soup so how could I resist? I trekked over during one lunchbreak with a friend and we spent around 5 minutes wandering the MetCentre food court looking for it before I realised it was actually on the ground floor of the centre and not inside the food court itself.
Unfortunately for us, there was already a massively long queue when we got there during the lunch hour peak. But as a credit to the soup bar team, they worked very efficiently ladling the various different soup flavours they have and the line moved quite quickly.
I had my heart set on the Boston Clam Chowder while my friend decided to be a bit more adventurous and try the Indonesian Chicken soup with mixed vegies and pasta. You can upsize to a large, but we both opted for a regular and to fill up my carb quota for the meal, I added an extra piece of Italian Schiacciata bread for $1. You can choose from 4 types of bread loaves made by Brasserie Bread – sourdough, rye, schiacciata, quinoa and soya.
Breads for $1 per piece
You can choose extra condiments/toppings to go with your soup and while they have the usual suspects (croutons, shallots, parsley), they also have more wacky things like fried onions and wasabi peas! On a whim, I asked for the wasabi peas and it tasted just as I expected it to – like I was a kid again and decided to chuck whatever snacks I had into my soup. I appreciated the novelty factor even though it didn’t really complement the flavours of the soup.
The Boston Clam Chowder was quite chunky and filling; I couldn’t really see any clams on first inspection and when I eventually found some swimming amongst the diced vegies they were quite small. Based on the seafood chowders I’ve had before, I expected it to be cream-based rather than tomato based which it was but luckily, it still tasted hearty and flavoursome.
Boston Clam Chowder, Indonesian Chicken Soup, both $8 regular
My friend’s Indonesian Chicken soup was described as fragrant and was full of exotic herb flavours that spiced up the chicken broth base and had pieces of chicken and bits of pasta thrown into it too. It was also quite filling and fairly delicious, although not as thick as my Boston Clam Chowder.
If you’re out on a lunchbreak in the Sydney CBD and feeling like some soup, join the suited masses who already flock to Croutons Soup Bar for their interesting soup flavours and toppings. You can also mix your own soups and add in pastas/brown rice to certain soups if you’re after a more filling meal.
UPDATE 8/8/2012 – For those readers who were wondering why the Boston Clam Chowder was so red, it turns out that Croutons was experiencing a temporary issue with the red colouring from their carrots changing the colour of the soup. But rest assured that this has been fixed and the Boston Clam Chowder is back to its usual creamy coloured self now and the taste has even been tweaked a bit so that it’s even tastier than before!
Croutons Soup Bar
Shop g27/60 Margaret St
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 0433 175 031
mexican chilli is the best in winter <3 ask for extra chilli too! haha
and the zucchini & ham is rly tasty too! (a bit toooo healthy for my taste hahaha)
the clam chowder is a bit of a hit & miss. the first 2 times i got it was really rich and creamy with lots of little clams, but then the last time i got it … it wasn't as nice anymore 🙁 awww!!
Ooh I’ll try the Mexican Chilli next time then! 🙂
I hear the Boston style chowder is tomato based, whereas the SF and some other one’s are creamy. I can’t bear the wait at Croutons anymore though…
Ahh is it always that crowded? I went past a week ago and the line wasn’t that bad, but perhaps it was still early (12 noon).
LOVE wasabi peas! haha i wouldve been tempted to add them too!
They’re so fun! I’ve never seen them being offered by anyone else with soups 😀
Definitely perfect to warm up on those cold winter lunches! Although I imagine after finishing it I’d just want to crawl up in bed with the blanket and snooze!
You’re completely right…I had a food coma afterwards!
Hmmm… I love the idea of a place dedicated to soup (one of my favourite foods!) but that clam chowder is wrong! New England Clam Chowder (also called Boston Clam Chowder) is made with cream and should be white. Manhattan Clam Chowder has a tomato-based broth. You got Manhattan Chowder. Still very yummy… but not the same! Ok.. chowder rant over!
Oh I see!! Thanks for clearing that up 🙂 I’m heading off to America at the end of the year so I’ll try both types of chowders in their hometowns then 😀
Thanks for that great review and the comments.
SarahKate: Our Clam Chowder is the Boston variation but the carrots as of late have been very red and consequently had dyed the soup base a very dark colour. We have taken steps to rectify this and our chowder is now a much lighter colour. We have also tweaked the taste a tad bit and i’m pretty sure you would enjoy it now! Come down sometime and ask for a free sample….more than happy to oblige anyone a free taste of anything!
FYI, we used to also offer Manhattan Clam Chowder which is a tomato-based soup (as opposed to cream based) and is a lighter broth. We will bring it back during warmer weather but for now the thicker soups are in higher demand so keep an eye out for it in summer.
Keep souping and be well! – Croutons Soup Bar