Seems to be a hit - but not with us!
Posted on 07 / 21 / 2012
We decided to try out the dinner menu at this venue which serves dinner only on some Thursday and Friday nights (their website is totally out of date - you need to be on Twitter to be in the know or read their tweets on their webpage). There are two formal dinner sittings: at 6.30pm and at 8.30pm. We booked for the first round, got in at around 6.35pm and the place was almost full.
"Full" means that all 34 or 36 seats were taken. We were placed at the end of a massive wooden table with 11 other diners, sitting on heavy wooden stools that were pretty much impossible to lift and to move. There was nowhere to put our coats (it was a cold Melbourne evening), and there was nowhere to stretch; my knees were squashed in for the next 90 minutes. We also had to share our conversation with the couple next to us; intimacy was out of the question with this sort of setup.
The menu is not that long, but the prices are on the high side, reaching $24 for a mains dish. We chose an Indian rasam soup and some Mexican enchiladas. The soup was absolutely tasteless! It had no overtones of "Indian", other than being served with some lovely basmati rice, a chapati and some excellent chilli jam. The enchiladas were a good size, but their filling was mushy and lacked flavour also. Neither dish was piping hot.
The desserts were all vegan and sounded quite amazing. We tried the vegan mock Snickers concoction and a vegan creme brulee. Both items were handcrafted and expertly presented, and made up for the uninspiring mains. While they weren't cheap - $14.50 and $15.50 - they were worth the novelty and the imagination that had gone into them.
Unfortunately, the waitress we had on the night seemed to be a beginner and was lost at times. Our total for the dinner (2 mains + 2 desserts) was $74 and which has put Monk Bodhi Dharma at the top of our "Expensive Veg Restaurants of Australia" list.
In conclusion, if you would like to check out the creativity of a vegan chef and don't mind paying for it, then dinner at Monk Bodhi Dharma is the way to go. However, be prepared for a lack of comfort and intimacy. If we ever do return, we'll go for a hot drink with one of the desserts. They were truly something memorable.
Chef-crafted food, Excellent desserts
Squashy, Expensive, Not intimate