Attempting to juggle the blog (The Afterimage), sketchbook, camera and a small forest's worth of university readings around Sydney.
Published March 19th 2014
Well presented vegan, pan-Asian cuisine
Outside the more inner city locations, vegetarians and vegans often find it difficult to find restaurants that cater to their eating requirements beyond the arbitrary salad or, at best, steamed vegetables. Thankfully, it's easier to find these restaurants than it used to be.
Bodhi Restaurant is an exclusively vegan restaurant specialising in a range of Asian cuisine. The price point, as with a lot of vegetarian restaurants, is slightly higher than your average night out.
The location is not hard to find - it's literally under the stairs near St Mary's Cathedral - but easily overlooked because half the restaurant is under the stairs. Our reservation at 7 was at an outside table. Despite it being summer, in the fading light and given the area was right next to the park and treeline, some friends were bitten by mosquitoes.
The tapas dishes were presented very beautifully but, for its price, the portion sizes were very small (there were a total of 3 tempura vegetarian 'prawns' in a martini glass, for example). Friends who shared a few tapas instead of a share dish paid the same amount or more, but seemed to have a lot less to eat.
We were initially quite shocked to see the salt and pepper tofu steak (with a mushroom salagrette, chili bean mayonnaise on a bed of asparagus) come out. While the presentation was quite beautiful and balanced in colour, what I had expected to be a slab of 'meat-like' soybean produce was actually a thick medallion of compressed tofu.
Tofu itself is quite tasteless, so a lot depended on the sauce and flavouring. While there was some sauce, I'm not sure if it really permeated deeper than the surface.
We had more success with the Bodhi vegetarian peking 'duck', (BBQ sauce, cucumber and pancakes), though the 'duck' part of the dish rested solely on the classic Beijing duck sauce. The 'meat' itself was a generously portioned fried confection of soy products, flavoured with an almost smoky taste, presented with rice pancakes and cucumbers. The batter was particularly well done.
However, we were only provided with a small dish of the sauce, which was not nearly enough to maintain the illusion that we were eating actual 'Bejing duck'. While a second refill of sauce was provided obligingly, I'd recommend the whole dish be presented with a bowl of the sauce.
While the cuisine at Bodhi was well presented and fairly well cooked, it's perhaps a fairly expensive vegetarian restaurant option.
I would be prepared to spend a fair amount if you're planning to try a variety of tapas but the wide range of food options available might make it worth it to vegan diners.