Golden Spoons Review: Health City Café

| 05/07/2018

(CNS Foodie): A family member’s recent stay at Health City Cayman Islands in East End resulted in many meals taken at that hospital’s cafeteria, the Health City Café. While food consumed at a medical facility has never previously motivated me to review it (except for ones that would have included a few choice, non-printable words), the meals at Health City proved a tasty exception.

Yes, I am saying for the record that hospital food can be delicious. And that revelation was borne out across multiple dishes covering breakfast, lunch and dinner. To illustrate the variety and quality, I will be reviewing meals eaten at different days and times.

The café is run by chef Vidyadhara Shetty of the Blue Cilantro restaurant and the menu carries that establishment’s name.

I also want to note that while the menu has extensive Indian selections, it also offers western as well as Asian choices.

Let’s start with breakfast. On the western side, the café can prepare a three-ingredient omelet of your choice, served with toast for $7.50. Options for filling comprise scallions, tomato, bell pepper, cheddar cheese and ham, with my companion selecting the last three. The resulting omelet was quite serviceable and was subsequently ordered on other occasions.

I opted for masala dosa with sambar (a stew-like lentil-based accompaniment) and coconut chutney ($7.50). The dosa is described as a crispy rice pancake. It seemed more like a giant crepe folded in half, so big that the edges hung off the sides of the plate. The inside is filled with potatoes, onions and various spices. I readily admit I had never encountered this dish before, but I was immediately smitten. I was unsure at the best way to attack it but wound up spreading the lovely creamy chutney on top and dipping it all in the sambar, which had a very nice zip to it.

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Masala dosa

On another morning, I tried the porridge oats, with milk and honey ($5). While it was good as porridge goes, it did not live up to the recommendation by a friend who had been a patient there. Perhaps they save the “good stuff” for in-house. There was also a traditional Indian breakfast buffet ($7.50) but I never managed to try that.

At lunch and dinner, the café also offers buffets (both $12.50), which change daily, along with a range of menu items.

Always available Indian dishes include a very rich and tasty chicken tikka masala ($12.50) which rivals any I have had in Indian restaurants around town; and something new to me, a kathi roll ($8.50), which has been described as street food coming from Kolkata. It is similar to a roti or burrito but with Indian flatbread for the wrap, which is chock full of chicken and vegetables and lovely spices reminiscent of tikka, with just the right amount of heat. This became a favourite go-to meal for me.

Among Asian selections you can choose stir fry with vegetables ($10.50), chicken ($12.50) or beef ($14.50); and fried noodles with vegetables ($10), chicken ($12) or shrimp ($15). Both of these, while not tasting exactly like Chinese fare, were nonetheless flavourful. The Asian part of the menu also includes Manchurian, Szechuan or sweet and sour chicken or shrimp ($16.50/$19.50) with fried rice; chilli chicken ($12.50); or fried rice with vegetables ($10), chicken ($12) or shrimp ($15).

There are also Western choices which I never felt compelled to try, such as barbecued chicken ($12.50), pan-fried fish ($13.50) and chicken tenders ($9.50), plus soups and salad, and fajitas ($8.50).

We had the pesto penne pasta with chicken ($10) quite a number of times; again this held up well against similar fare at other restaurants in Cayman. The pesto was spot on and the dish cooked to order. You can choose the type of pasta, main ingredient and sauce – alfredo and tomato are also options — so there should be a combination that will suit everyone.

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Lunch buffet

And it is not just patrons who have a reason to be at the hospital who are enjoying the food. People actually make special trips to Health City to have the buffet and other menu offerings. Apparently, the Sunday buffet is particularly popular. How many hospitals can boast of diners coming simply for the food?

I tried the lunch and dinner buffets and both were winners. One particular lunch offered (translations to come) methi murgh, chow chow masala, kadai subzi (or sabzi) and rajma masala, with white rice or mutter palao and butter naan. Methi means fenugreek, a prominent spice in Indian cooking. I thoroughly enjoyed the tender pieces of chicken bathed in the thick tomato-based sauce.

Accompanying the chicken in order were a mixed vegetable curry, a slightly sweet dry (meaning without sauce) potato and onion dish that proved a good counterpoint to the heat of the other dishes, and a curried bean offering that was, in my case, way too reminiscent of baked beans, which I have never liked, so I will refrain from commenting further on that.

Also included were butter naan and white rice or mutter palao, which is a tasty Indian take on peas and rice. Not a bad deal for $12.50.

Despite this being a cafeteria, the staff will bring the food to your table (except for the buffets, for which you stand at the counter and choose your options), part of the reason I gave three spoons for service. In addition, I consistently found the café staff to be pleasant and helpful, epitomising “service with a smile”.

While nothing can really be done about the ambience, the food and value make the Health City Café worth recommending.

Gratuity: 15% usually added to the bill.

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Category: Breakfast, Buffet, Dinner, Golden Spoons Review, Lunch

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ate there a few months ago and found it ridiculously overpriced for uninteresting food .. strange, considering the Blue Cilantro connection. Glad this seems to have changed.