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Monk Bodhi Dharma

Home > Melbourne > Cafes | Coffee | Food and Wine
Published June 24th 2012
Nothing thrills a café connoisseur more than stumbling across a new café to call home. It's particularly satisfying when the café is located in such obscurity that only the most loyal and persistent café explorers will discover it. Having been recommended to Monk Bodhi Dharma by a fellow café connoisseur friend of mine, I finally made the trek on a wintery Sunday morning.

Image courtesy of Monk Bodhi Dharma Facebook Profile.


Tucked away in the car park near Safeway on Carlisle Street, Monk Bodhi Dharma could easily be confused with a brick cubby. Its modest exterior, however, is put to maximum utility with the interior adorned with timber tables and chairs enjoyable for visitors wanting to come along solo or with company. The dangling light bulbs and stripped brick walls make you feel privy to the most welcoming of warehouses.

Open on Monday to Thursday from 7.00am until 5.00pm and 8.00am until 5.00pm on Saturday to Sunday, as well as for dinner on Fridays, I'm told avoiding the wait is only possible for the earliest of diners. Nonetheless the ten minute wait I experienced in time for brunch on Sunday was not particularly tiresome.

Renowned for its coffee and tea expertise, my waiter was more than willing to educate me on the taste and health quotients of the Ethiopian bean I requested for my soy cappuccino. It was loaded with flavour and a hefty aroma that left me craving another cup!

Specialising in sustainable vegetarian and vegan fare, Monk Bodhi Dharma's menu evolves in response to the seasons. I opted for the Umami Mushrooms – oyster, shiitake and enoki mushrooms spilt over sundried polenta bread and doused with goat's cheese, thyme and chilli oil. Coming in at $18.50, the perception of the higher than average price tag is undone as soon as the first mouthful is experienced. The savouriness of the mushrooms countered the sweetness of the polenta bread perfectly.

Having only had the pleasure of visiting Monk Bodhi Dharma once, I can confidently assert that it is a café connoisseur's dream. I eagerly await my next trip!
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Why? For specialist coffee
When: Monday to Friday 7am - 5pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 8am - 5pm
Where: 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava VIC 3183
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