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Monk Bodhi Dharma

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 18 reviews )
Contact +61-395347250

Rear 202 Carlisle St, Balaclava, Victoria, 3184

Coffee and tea house also serving food like all-day breakfast, daily soup/stew, enchiladas, smoothies, raw snickers and desserts. Mostly gluten free. Open Mon-Fri 7:00am-5:00pm, Fri 6:30pm-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 8:00am-5:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Western, Take-out, Australian

Reviews (18)

First Review by vgough

Great food in a small space - Edit

I've eaten here several times and always enjoyed it. The menu is creative and often uses unusual ingredients, but in a way that enhances rather than detracts from the flavour of the final product. The only downside is that I've had to wait for a table every time I've come.

Pros: Delicious, creative food

Cons: Long wait for table, Hard to find

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come for the coffee! - Edit

The coffee here is unbeatable. They roast it themselves, so the whole room smells heavenly. The house made almond mylk is creamy and delicious.
The food is great, and reasonably priced for the quality of the ingredients. The banana bread was great, and the icecream was fantastic!

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Some of the best coffee in Melbourne - Edit

I am in two minds about writing this review... the place is excellent with some of the best coffee in Melbourne but on the other hand, if I tell too many people about it, I won't be able to get in!

This is one of the best vegetarian breakfast places full stop. Excellent coffee (which is roasted on the premises), amazing food and friendly knowledgeable staff.

The pour over coffees are rich, full bodied and well balanced. The staff understand their coffee and you can learn a lot from them.

The food is also good wide a mixture of sweet (apple pancakes with vegan icecream), savoury (mushrooms on polenta toast) and filling (mexican beans). There are also lighter options such as slices, toast and pastries.

It is a busy happening place so if you want a Sunday breakfast, you need to be in well before 9am.

Prices are reasonable for the quality of food and coffee.

Pros: Excellent coffee, Knowledgeable staff, Variety of tasty food

Cons: Can't always get in, Can be loud

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Amazing Food! - Edit

Wow! This place has some creative and knowledgable chefs! Food not only tasted amazing but also so well presented! The space was cramped and far too loud it's almost anxiety producing.

Pros: taste and presentation

Cons: space too small and too loud

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Fantastic - Edit

In a week of gorging myself on vegan food while on holiday in Melbourne and Daylesford I can honestly say the single dish I had at this restaurant was the best. Mushrooms with homemade almond paste on pumpkin polenta bread. Simply to die for. Well worth the trouble to find it. Get there early for lunch as the place has a good reputation and fills to capacity.

Pros: Good selection of food, can be made vegan, Friendly staff, Very tasty and worth the cost

Cons: Not that easy to find the cafe, Limited seating, Very busy

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Best brunch I've had in Melbourne - Edit

Beautiful venue, the toilet is awesome!!

I had a soy cappuccino and the avo polenta beard with tomatoes. It's called the 'hungry..' - something. Just order it, it's outstanding. Best brunch and not just because its VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE

Pros: They offer so many gluten free option and vegan nu

Cons: There are no cons

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Frenetic and fiercely popular - Edit

A hustling, bustling tiny cafe...

Always packed to the rafters, the trade is steady, the food is somewhat hit and miss. Finding a good seat is a challenge; too close to the door means an extra chill factor on a wintry Melbourne morning. The seating is shoulder to shoulder, communal style which makes for a friendly but not so intimate setting.

The food has potential for greatness however often falls short by being too rich eg the Umami Mushrooms while tasty in their own right, could really use a serve of some greens to cut through the heaviness. Saying that, I have previous enjoyed the Veganised Avignon Apple Pancakes.

Worth a visit.

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Gorgeous food (and decor) - Edit

Even though it's hidden away it is always busy which goes to show how good it is. The apple pancakes are amazing and the coffee is beautiful. Absolutely love the decor too.

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Hidden away - Edit

Very busy so they must be doing something very well!
Small menu, but with a few specials on the blackboard, the food did not deliver what we were hoping for. Cramped (cosy?) and a little chilly by the door.

Cons: Pricey

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Encapsulates Melbourne's food love - Edit

Monk Bodhi Dharma is a great place to catch up with friends that aren't vegan as it does offer vegetarian food that is full of flavour and would satisfy even the most hardcore meat eater. It has a great vibe with friendly staff and the food is delicious! The sweet desserts are all vegan, I unfortunately didn't get to try any but there's always next time! It gets quite busy and there's minimal seating so I'd recommend booking a table if going on a popular day.

Pros: Delicious food, Large portions, Good vibe

Cons: Minimal seating, Hard to locate

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Amazing food/fresh juices/ coffees - Edit

Firstly it's off 202 Carlisle street near st kildas down an alleyway near KLP health. A small brick building. Don't give up its worth finding!
All vegan with a few vegetarian options. Breakfasts great..fresh fruit etc and dishes such as mushrooms with a vegan sauce on polenta bread fab. A few specials each day.

Guess what the staff are AAA..friendly, helpful and they mean it. As a visitor to melbourne it's a funky little place to visit. I keep going back. Not a coffee connoiseur but others tell me they go just for that. They have different green teas which are really good.

Pros: Fab wholesome food cooked with love, The staff care and are friendly, Consistently good

Cons: Not easy to find, Get's busy!

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Superrr delish lunch!! :) - Edit

I went here for lunch with my boyfriend and four friends today as we are in Melbourne for the weekend and I read about it on Lola Berry's (Aussie nutritionist) Instagram.

I am the only vego in the group and everyone loved their meals as much as I did! :)

My boyfriend and I ordered the vegan gluteb free sundried tomato & Chilli herb cornbread with mixed mushrooms and creamy sauce - it was incredible! Our coffees were great! Our friends ordered the Mexican nacho bean lunch special and corn fritters - they all loved their meals! The early grey & orange iced tea was also delish :)

It was a Sunday late lunch (around 1.30-2.30) but still had a line up out the door! It's a funky place but just admit it us pretty tiny and swishy! - only downfall! Also a little hard to find as it's off an alleyway off Carlisle street near Safeway. Worth the find and the wait if you love your food :)

Pros: Sensational food!!! , Coffee and iced tea!

Cons: Very small! , Very popular - long line up to get in :(

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Seems to be a hit - but not with us! - Edit

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.

Pros: Chef-crafted food, Excellent desserts

Cons: Squashy, Expensive, Not intimate

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The best! - Edit

If you can find your way there it's worth it. The staff are all very pleasant it's busy but no one is stressed. It's small and urban but the food has massive fresh flavours.

We have been for breakfast and lunches and never been disappointed, the guys that run it are imaginative and passionate. So far this for me is the best in Melbourne. Presentation beautiful, ingredients top class and the soy chai is amazing.

The place is filled with coffee aromas and a good mix and flow of people make the atmosphere.

If your looking for vegan food top class in Melbourne head here it's worth it.

Pros: Vegan choices are amazing, Soy chai nice and spicy, Great energy

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Delightful Monk - Edit

Monk Bodhi is a great little hidden away cafe behind an alley and supermarket in the Balaclava shopping strip. There are a few tables for 2 people, a few seats at the coffee bar and one large table for sharing during busy times... which is quite often now that the word is out about the dharma kitchen! On nice days there are some little stools outside for the smokers, or while you wait for a table inside.
The coffee is always delicious and the soy chai is a definite... quite spicy and comes in a gorgeous Japanese styled tea pot. Everything is vegetarian and most items can be done vegan. My favourites now that I'm a 'regular' are the brushetta and 'The Avo' which both come on toasted sourdough bread. The baguettes are also a delicious and healthy option for a lighter meal and the vegan choice often comes with Tofutti cream cheese in place of feta. You must keep enough room in your tummy for the coffee and chocolate brownie or a sweet little cupcake. All baked goods are vegan too.
A quaint little building restored from an old bakehouse, now a prime position for some alternative dining and a nice clean bathroom around the back too!

Pros: Great Food, Great Staff, Great Baked Goods

Cons: Small Area, Back-less Seats

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The monk has funk! - Edit

MBD is sooooo good~been twice now and not dissapointed~cool vibes ,hot curries and amazing cupcakes!!!!Excellent coffee and chai~the place is mostly vegan but you can get a bit of organic milk in your latte or honey in your chai if you bend that way.Love it!

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one winter afternoon - Edit

We visited this little cafe one cold winter afternoon. It was a public holiday and our 'favourites' were closed. Its a fairly eccentric little place that is tucked away at the back of shopping strip in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Cool ambience in what looks like converted stable or workshop, deceptively rustic with well-appointed prep area etc. Good coffee, bean roaster prominently placed in open plan eatery suggests they roast their own coffee beans?. Staff very pleasant and competant, reasonably priced. Ecclectic menu with things like bruschetta and tagines well cooked, served on interesting, mismatched china etc. Lots of cool alternative-type customers on the day we were there but still comfy (not too new-age pretentious). It is very snug and you would need to feel ok about sharing a table if its busy. We waited outside for a spot (carpark area)on funny little stools where we were served hot drinks promptly, by friendly staff. Took me back to my student days and various venues in 1970's Glebe (Sydney) etc. All vegetarian food with plenty of vegan options. I'd return but probably for coffee and snacks. It was nice to have a different all-veg option but one that doesn't just rely on that and has good beverages, cool water on tables, attention to style.

Pros: all veg food, service, different

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