After a big Hallowe’en weekend at the the tail-end of a series of parties following on from a European holiday, it was time to detox (on a food level anyway, let’s not go too crazy!). The arrival of my vegan friend from Melbourne, Suze, seemed the perfect opportunity to check out some veggie / vegan recommendations. Saturday night and it’s time to head to Bodhi. It’s a lovely setting in the parkland at the back Cook+Phillip pool. I’ve walked passed dozens of times thinking ‘what a cute spot’ and never realised it was Bodhi.
I’m pretty happy that Suze is no more interested in the wide-range of mock-meat dishes than me. If you don’t want to eat meat, why would you want to eat something that tastes like meat? Seriously. Thankfully, that is only about 40% of the menu and remainder of the yum cha / asian-influenced dishes are actually pretty appealing.
I have a bit of a penchant for betel leaves, so we start with them plus a selection of dumplings. Betel leaves topped with smoked soy, orange, coconut, chilli and coriander are packed full of flavour and texture. They also are not over-laden and messy. Yummmm…great start! One each of a mixed basket of steamed pumpkin, english spinach, mushroom dumplings are bland and the dipping sauces the same.
On to mains! Our first main is the dry roasted salted peanut spices topped on fried eggplant with a celery and asian mushroom stuffing. Once the lemon juice is squeezed over them, these fried golden puffs are a delight. Crisp on the outside, eggplant cooked perfectly inside melds with the stuffing for a creamy consistency.
Our last dish of sweet vinegar and soy sauce glazed crispy shitake mushrooms are sticky, sweet, crisp and chewy. They are best when hot as they became a little too chewy as they cooled, but overall, are a tasty treat.
We opt out of desserts as there is nothing really that appealing. (I’m not quite enough of a hippy for vegan ice cream and S only sees rice as a savoury dish.) All-in-all, with a DJ spinning some chilled out tunes, ambient lighting, fairy lights through the trees and an interesting (and different!) menu, Vegan day 1 is a success.