Posted April 8, 2013 by Jennifer Lam in Occasion

Meatless Monday: Bodhi in the Park

As the Miss Eat-out-a-lot in my family and circle of friends, decisions on where we dine at are usually up to me. You’d think that I’d know my family best, but for some bizarre reason, I thought a family dinner at Bodhi in the Park would be a fun idea! We’re a family with larger than life appetites (search up #lamfamilyeats on Instagram), and everybody but me are massive meat eaters.

Oh wait, my brother was forced to go onto a temporary vegetarian diet for health reasons recently. That’s right… So I thought the entire family should also see how tasty meatless food could be!

Bodhi in the park - ice ginger tea, $6.50

The restaurant is very dimly lit; first signs that it’s more of a date night restaurant than a family restaurant.

Starters range from $4.50 to $14.50 and mainly feature dishes from their daytime yumcha operation. We whet our appetites with double orders of edamame beans with rock salt ($4.50), tempura Australian field mushrooms with BBQ sauce ($8.50) and steamed savoury sticky rice flower buns (3 pieces for $8).

The sticky rice buns are an all-time favourite dim sim dish of mine. I love the fragrance of the sticky rice, although this one is a little oily. The batter on the mushrooms aren’t tempura style as promised but they’re crunchy and still satisfy.

So far, so good. Everything disappears off the plates in seconds and the
balance of flavours and textures between the three dishes offers much
sought-after variety.

Bodhi in the park - edamame beans, tempura mushrooms, flower buns, curry

Onto main course, we’re recommended the Malaysian curry with lychees, asparagus, pineapple, snow peas, cabbage, tofu, tomatoes, bamboo shoots and cashew nuts ($20). Familiar with more punchy Malaysian curries, this one sits on the bland end of the scale.

We’re more excited about the Bodhi vegetarian Peking ‘duck’ (4 pieces of pancake per serve, $23 and $2 extra per 2 pancakes) which is presented just like traditional Peking duck, except with some sort of deep-fried tofu or gluten served as the mock meat. Unfortunately, this falls flat on expectations as the batter is too heavy and overpowers any taste of what was inside.

Bodhi in the park - peking duck pancake

Thankfully it all picks up from here. The Asian stuffed fresh shiitake mushroom and capsicum with a black bean dressing ($21.50) is absolutely gorgeous and the tossed kailan with basil and ‘beef’ nuggets with mushroom jus ($16.50) is also a hit.

The fried eggplant ($19.50) is another winner; dry roasted peanut spices are sprinkled over fried eggplant parcels which feature a hidden trove of fragrant minced celery, coriander, tofu and mushrooms.

I also love the salt & pepper silky tofu salad ($18.50) served with sesame, wakame, cucumber, baby leaves, fresh mint and yuzu dressing and would happily have a plate of this as lunch every day.

Bodhi in the park - stuffed mushrooms/capsicums, tofu salad, eggplant, kailan with nuggets

There were plenty of hits and misses and some stomachs left slightly hungry. I’m definitely writing this one off as a dinner restaurant my family would visit ever again, but I’ll be returning for the outdoor vegetarian yum-cha with or without them! With a reputation of being a leading Vegetarian restaurant for 24 years, I’m not ready to give up on this one yet. Yum cha, here we come!

Bodhi in the Park
Cook & Phillip Park Leisure Complex
4 College Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9360 2523
Web: www.bodhi.id.au

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Jennifer Lam

Jennifer is the founder of I Ate My Way Through. Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. These days, you'll most likely find Jen blogging about slow & intentional living On The Slow Lane and sharing what she knows now about mindful parenting and play-based learning at Mama's Got This.