Cafe Isabella

Ground Floor, Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville

Another month, another colleague’s birthday lunch. Not that I’m complaining, because it’s nice to have an excuse to leave the office for an hour or so. This time, we headed to the nearby Royal Women’s Hospital – I know, not a likely place for good food – to have lunch at Cafe Isabella.

Cafe Isabella is more like a cafe which happens to be in a hospital, than a hospital cafe. I imagine it’s something of a flagship outlet for its owners, the Zouki group, who also manage the food court offerings in the RWH/RMH building. The fit out is new and stylish, and the feel is definitely urbane. When we were there, the place wa s full of what I can only assume were hospital officials – it was all a little bit suity. Still, the service is exceedingly good, and the food is pretty good value, with meals ranging between $15-$25.

I had the chicken burger, because I felt like something with chips that day. My only complaint about this burger was that it was a bit too big. I had to chop it in two to manage it without spilling aioli and caramelised onions all over myself. The chips were nice and crispy, if a little on the luke side of warm. I love these wide, flat cut chips, though.

A couple of my colleagues had the stir-fried seafood, which apparently had a bit of spice to it. Both ladies reported that it was nice, but both were a bit perplexed by the lack of rice served with the dish. I’m not sure steamed rice is on the menu as a side, either, but I could be wrong.
Another couple of my colleagues had the Caesar salad, and both were quite happy with it.
Ms M had the fettuccine carbonara, and she was happy with it. The portion looked a little small when it arrived, but being quite a rich dish, it was still quite satisfying.
Ms L had the fish and chips, and was quite happy with it, despite it taking significantly longer to arrive at the table than the rest of our meals.
Ms S had the mushroom and pea risotto, with crispy pancetta. That fancy dark stuff around the edge was an aged balsamic glaze. Out of all the dishes, I thought this was the most impressive, not just because of the presentation, but the risotto looked perfectly cooked, too.
If you happen to be at the hospital, or near it, Isabella isn’t a bad option for a meal. Especially when you consider the other options nearby.

2 Replies to “Cafe Isabella”

  1. I had to be at the hospital about 3 times a week towards the end of my last pregnancy, and this was my little secret! I never ate there but they did vastly better coffee than the main cafeteria.

  2. Oh wow. This looks way better than anything I would possibly have expected. Although I did see the fitout a while ago and it occurred to me that they must be trying to match the fitout with quality food.

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