• Monk Bodhi Dharma (Balaclava)

The only ones who can get away with serving solely vegetarian food these days are those who can make it enticing enough for vegos and meat-eaters alike.  Just as the public jump onto the fairer side of the vegetarian bandwagon, our eateries are catching up creating tasty morsels in trendy settings.  Monk Bodhi Dharma is not undiscovered.  It has been on vegetarians’ favourites lists for years.  It’s been on my ‘to try’ list for almost just as long.

For some reason I had imagined watery dahl and flat bread (even I hold vegetarian prejudices), but was pleased to find a cute space from a seemingly converted shed, serving beans, toast, hotcakes but (despite not being vegan) no eggs.   I ordered the corn hotcakes and my cousin took the Mexican styled kidney beans.

Sitting on the heavy wooden stools at the coffee bar, I had to be careful not to slouch and hold my core – is assuming yoga and vegetarians united another prejudice?  Whilst busy, there was no wait for a seat and whilst the communal tables and benches are not typically conducive to private conversations, we were not disrupted by others’ words.

The hot cakes had a light batter, somewhere in between a pancake and a crumpet.  The fritters had been freshly fried and were served hot.  Kernels of corn were throughout and whilst tasty, the corn itself was more subtle in flavour.  To accompany the hotcakes stacked three high were tomatoes slow cooked into a sauce, basil pesto and sour cream.  The lemon wedge in the centre was off-putting and all the accompaniments seemed to tangy and sour as if the lemon had taken over.

My cousin really enjoyed the beans and they reminded me of a new vegetable dish I have been making recently – recipe still to come.

The other noteworthy aspect was the coffee.  It was so strong and flavoursome – a standout, as far as Melbourne’s coffee goes.  They roast it themselves.

While enjoying eating (as always) and in depth conversation, a few non-vegetarian people I knew walked in.  My cousin mentioned it was my hangout before I even knew it.  It seems that Monk Bodhi Dharma, might just be, my place to be.

Monk Bodhi Dharma
Behind 202 Carlisle Street
Balaclava 3183
03 9534 7250
Monk Bodhi Dharma on Urbanspoon