Hospitals aren't usually considered culinary hotspots, so the newly opened Smith + Singleton comes as a pleasant surprise.
Helmed by Paul Dunlop and Lucas Sansome (both ex-St Katherine's), the all-day diner sits adjacent to Parkville's Royal Children's Hospital, taking its name from the founding duo of doctors.
The space is lofty and the fit-out cheerfully contemporary; a semi-open kitchen looks out over a mix of high bench seating, low tables and intimate booths. It's punchy and urban, with enough colour and texture to have you quickly forgetting where you are.
The menu spans breakfast and lunch, with dinner service recently having been added into the mix too. At a glance, the morning offerings sound like a fairly familiar bunch, though if you look closer, you'll discover plenty of cheffy skill behind them. Nicely dense corn and haloumi fritters are topped with smoked trout, a pile of rocket and a mousse-like horseradish and crème fraiche concoction ($16.90), while a Middle Eastern dish teams fried eggs with salty pastourma, rocket and a subtle burnt butter yoghurt ($15.90).
Lunch ranges from well-crafted sandwiches and gourmet pizzas, to a globally-inspired selection of small plates and larger dishes. With elegant creations like grilled haloumi, pickled grapes and pine nuts ($12.90), or parsley and lemon-crumbed lamb cutlets with whipped ricotta ($29.90), there's no way this spot should only be reserved for hospital visit lunch runs.
To drink, beans by Axil are available as an espresso, filter or cold brew coffee, but there's no doubt that the coming summer will see kids big and small zeroing in on the house smoothies (all $8) and the creamy gingerbread milkshake ($5).
That's right folks — you've just been given an enjoyable reason to head to a hospital.