Isabella Cafe & Grill, North Melbourne
Food: Chicken and Vegetable Soup, Linguine, Bircher Muesli
This new cafe in Parkville, located at the entrance to the Royal Women’s Hospital, is off to a good start. It’s clean, modern aesthetic creates a relaxing atmosphere, the light wooden panelling contrasting well with the darker ceiling and chairs. While never feeling overly chaotic, the steady stream of customers, the majority of which were heavily pregnant women (not surprising given its location) created a good vibe and busy atmosphere.
Large, bright display cabinets are stuffed with great looking snack options and the frosted glass along the side wall means the space was well lit while also offering degree of privacy as we sat down for some food. Service, though efficient and functional, didn’t really wow (some of the staff seemed a little inexperienced) -but hopefully they’ll quickly iron this out as the cafe becomes more established.
Having just missed the breakfast window we had a good look at what the lunch menu had to offer. With a large selection of burgers, wraps and mains, there’s plenty of choice. We opted to try the soup of the day, the linguine, and as a finisher, the bircher muesli. The soup of the day was chicken and vegetable, and despite looking a little simple and straightforward, this proved to be a filling and flavourful dish. A healthy serving of well cooked vegetables added a great texture to this rich soup, and the lovely, soft pieces of chicken just melted in the mouth, i just wish there was a little bit more of it.
This was not a problem for the linguine. Tossed with an abundance of chicken and chorizo, along with roasted capsicum, spinach and confit lemon, the flavours in this dish all worked so well together. Sadly, the presentation didn’t quite making the most of all the great ingredients it contained, but on the flavour front, this was a very tasty meal. The meat was cooked very well, with the chorizo having a nice little kick to it. There was also a good lemony zest mixed in there as well. The linguine itself was soft and well cooked, though by the time I’d gotten down to the last of it, it had become a touch greasy. All in all, this was a great tasting and incredibly filling plate of pasta.
Lastly, we opted for the bircher muesli. It’s a nice size and would serve as a decent healthy snack on its own or a light meal as well as as a dessert to a main meal. It had a great, fresh taste and the yoghurt offered a subtle sweet tang into the mix. This looked lovely – layering the ingredients neatly atop each other – and definitely something that would appeal for a quick bite. Simple and well done; this was a great finish to our meal.
Address: Corner Flemington Road and Grattan Street
Mon 7am to 4pm
Tue 7am to 4pm
Wed 7am to 4pm
Thu 7am to 4pm
Fri 7am to 4pm
Parking: There is some street parking nearby. Just bear in mind the metro tunnel works and check your route before you travel.
Getting here on PT: Again, watch out for those metro tunnel works. It’s easily reached by the 58 or 59 tram (stop 14) or the 19 (stop 10) or the 402, 505 and 546 bus, but do check for the best option before you travel.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Isabella Cafe, Parkville. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.