We recently visited the Moody Noodles to meet their newest member, then stuck around west side for dinner. Cambodian restaurant Bopha Devi has a long-established reputation both in Yarraville and in Docklands, and we knew from K and Carla that they offer decent veg options. Indeed, many mains on their menu included a tofu option and a V, and there were plenty of GFs scattered throughout too.
We started with the gleegan-friendly garlic chive rice cakes ($10.90), crispily crusted with a soft rice-dough middle and green garlicky centre. Though it looked as innocent as ketchup, the accompanying sauce had some chilli heat and I spread it sparingly.
We shared a small Char Trop ($16.90) - smoky, slippery eggplant with tofu strips and steamed rice.
The Char Kroeung ($17.90 for small) gave us mixed signals on the menu, listed with a V and a mention of fish sauce. Our waiter assured us that we could eat it fish free so we gave it a go, picking through stir-fried noodles with tofu, capsicum, onions and bean shoots with a scoop of crushed nuts. It's said to be flavoured with lime leaves, lemongrass, turmeric and fresh mint, but it turned out a little tame for all that.
I pushed for dessert and found that their serving of Cambodian Classic Coconut Palm Cake ($10.90) was more than enough to share. The warm cakes were spongy and faintly palm-perfumed, and might have been a bit dry if not for the icecream on the side.
Bopha Devi is clearly a neighbourhood favourite - the tables were on high rotation during our visit, and many more customers loitered on the footpath awaiting their takeaway orders. The staff were friendly, informative and generally efficient in the face of this high demand. We didn't feel at all rushed - if anything they seemed pleased that we wanted to stick around and sample one of their traditional desserts. Most of all, it's great that they cater to special dietary requirements with such breadth and understanding.
Bopha Devi has been roundly enjoyed by bloggers, with posts spanning seven years! Read more on easy as vegan pie, The Urban Ma, Foodscrazy, lyttel fish big pond, EAT AND BE MERRY, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE(T), FoodStuffMelb, the melburnian and Richard's Restaurant Reviews.
27 Ballarat St, Yarraville (also at Docklands)
veg dishes $8.90-20.90
Accessibility: I think there was a step up on entry. The interior is very crowded, though there is a clear corridor through the centre of the restaurant. We ordered at our table and paid at a high counter. The toilet is unisex and narrow.