On Friday night we headed south to revisit Monk Bodhi Dharma for dinner with some vegan friends. (Perhaps you've already seen the meal, posted with such speed on quinces and kale!) We previously knew this restaurant's Friday night dinners to be entirely raw, but they're now shuffling the sub-40°C fare with a few very-much-cooked dishes. Their consideration of special diets remains commendable, with vegan and gluten-free options not only clearly marked but positively dominating the menu.
We started out sharing a generous bowl of roasted and spiced sweet potato cubes ($10), a fine way to sully the silky raw pesto mayonnaise.
For my main meal I dipped into the uncooked end of the menu and ordered the Living Falafel plate ($20). The dehydrated carrot and almond falafel bore an impressive and tasty resemblance to the baked kind, and they were backed up with a refreshing tabouleh and diverse array of dips - beetroot and walnut, cashew zucchini hummus, olive sundried tapenade, tahini sauce and chilli oil. I didn't warm to the lavosh crackers, but they did their part getting those dips to my lips.
Michael had a hearty Bodhi Moussaka ($24), a dish layered with sweet roasted potato, eggplant, zucchini, brown lentils and tomato in cashew bechamel, topped with vegan cheese and a raw tzatziki, with a little salad on the side. This is pretty much his ideal winter meal.
The showstopper was without doubt dessert. The unforgettable raw Snickers of our previous visit has been upcycled as Monk's "Snickers" 2 ($16.50), a gorgeous glass of molten peanut caramel and chocolate sauce swirling around vanilla and chocolate ice-creams, with contrasting crunchy moments from biscuit crumbs and peanuts.
Monk's Friday night menu doesn't quite match the vegan banquet brilliance of, say, East Elevation or Shu, but its raw desserts are unrivalled. We can't wait to see what these folks have in store for their upcoming Abbotsford venture.
You can read about this very meal on quinces and kale.
We've previously blogged about Monk Bodhi Dharma one, two, three, four times. Since our last visit for brunch, MBD's received more positive reviews for brunch (EATABLE, I Spy Plum Pie), the Friday dinners (The Yummy Blog,) and its annual peace dinner (Clean Eats Melbourne).
Monk Bodhi Dharma
rear of 202 Carlisle St, Balaclava
veg entrees $10-12, mains $20-24, desserts $12.50-16.50
Accessibility: MBD has a narrow entry with a small step and very cramped interior; most seats are small heavy backless stools.We ordered at the table and paid at a medium-low counter. We hear that the toilets are located outside and around the corner and sound difficult to access, particularly at night.