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.
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.