Way better than a food court




Zouki Cafe, Royal Melbourne Hospital. Phone: 9916 6020

Zouki establishments are in-house at hospitals all over Melbourne but I’m told the Royal Melbourne establishment is the biggest.

In a hospital that seems like a small town unto itself, this Zouki is all a-bustle at lunchtime, with a United Nations of humanity chowing down, hospital clients and their friends and families rubbing shoulders with hospital staff.

I’m really impressed by the range of food available – looking at it, I figure it’ll never win any prizes or rave review … but it’s interesting to think about just how this multicultural line-up is such a contrast to what would have been served here as little as a couple of decades ago.

The food ranges from …




… a sandwich bar to …




… salads to …




… pasta and …




… wok dishes.

There’s two coffee stands doing roaring trade.

I have two cafe lattes during my day at the hospital, and they’re both very good.




There’s sweet treats, of course, as well as …




… the obligatory sushi roll counter.

And that seems like the least unappealing of what’s on offer.

I go Indian, of course!

One of my choices is called chicken and potato balti – though I suspect there’s not much balti about it.

It joins dal makhani and rice studded with chick peas for a $11.90 lunch complete with a couple of papadums.

Unsurprisingly, it’s mildy spiced in terms of heat but is nevertheless fragrant with seasoning.

It’s fine.

In fact, my meal would put quite a few Indian restaurants proper to shame.

The dal makhani, in particular, has superb, earthy flavour and is a whole lot less creamy and rich than most restaurant versions.

Preparing to write this story, I am surprised to find that almost all the comments at Urbanspoon are negative and very much concerned with pricing.

Would I visit this place if did not have business to attend to in the hospital?


How does it compare with your average shopping centre food court?

Very well, I reckon.

4 thoughts on “Way better than a food court

  1. About 7 years ago I spent a lot of time in this hospital when my father was a patient and this looks like a huge improvement on the food that was on offer back then!


  2. Zouki is definitely better than Cafe Kaz was when I worked at the Royal Melbourne in the mid-2000s. That was as bad as what you’d expect a hospital food operation to be. I’ll give the family that runs Zouki credit for trying to hit lots of ethnic notes. And at least they’re not some mega-corporation like Macca’s doing the food service. I’ve eaten at Zouki operations in hospitals all over the Melbourne metro area, mostly for coffee and pastry before 7 a.m. shifts. Their cakes and slices are good quality, but yeah, priced $1 more than they should be. Flat whites are hit and miss, depending on who’s doing the baristing. The one at Sunshine hospital has been the worst over several cuppas; this Royal Melbourne one has been sub-par for me twice. Zoukis at Clayton and Dandenong have been better. Have you tried the “Cafe O’Vesta” food court close to home at the Western Hospital, Kenny? It looks at first glance like an indy, but Zouki runs it too. I was surprised at the breadth of foods they offer.


  3. Zouki range of food always looks good.
    I had the Mongolian beef with rice and extra steamed veggies.
    Lucky l got the rice and the extra veggies.
    Because. ..
    You couldn’t eat the Mongolian beef.
    Very salty, flavours where very strong l could not eat it..
    I had to put it in the bin…
    Other items have been nice…


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