Monk Bodhi Dharma: these vegan hipsters brew great specialty coffee

Monk Bodhi Dharma

Vegan hipsters in a post-apocalypse bunker … Monk Bodhi Dharma. Photo: the Coffee Cities Project

Imagine a bunch of specialty-coffee-vegan-hipsters have set up shop in a post-apocalypse bunker and you’ll get some idea of the deal at Monk Bodhi Dharma.

Monk occupies a one-time bakery at the back of a supermarket car park, featuring cracked render on the old brick walls, a battered wooden communal table, and low stools at a low bar in front of the espresso and pourover stations. John Lydon in Public Image mode could be whining on the sound system, the floor crew might include at least one human wearing a beard and matching floral house coat, and if you don’t spot Tank Girl putting away the Blackpool breakfast trifle between missions, you probably aren’t looking hard enough.

The coffee menu is all about fresh-crop, single-estate, high-end stuff sourced from suppliers like Ninety Plus.

About half-a-dozen single estate beans feature for pourover, with another four or so for espresso. There’s a battery of grinders and a Synesso ready to go. An Ethiopia Nekisse N2 from Ninety Plus, served in a – what is that glass? A brandy snifter? – has plenty of funky tropical fruit aromas and flavours of passionfruit and ripe strawberry followed by cold drip-like rum ’n’ raisin, and a nice silky mouthfeel.

Monk Bodhi Dharma

Creamy and bright – Guatemala Puerta Verde. Photo: the Coffee Cities Project

An espresso of Guatemala Puerta Verde comes with tasting notes of red cherry and sweet orange: that means super-bright fruit, nice savoury depth of flavour and a fantastic creamy mouthfeel – bright, sharp and clean.

The all-day breakfast and lunch menu is strictly vegetarian and mostly vegan: house-made raw granola with fresh almond milk; the Blackpool trifle (layers of seasonal fruit, granola and vanilla bean dairy-free cream); and classic sweet corn hotcakes with roasted cherry tomatoes and basil pesto.

Monk Bodhi Dharma

Where 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, 03 9534 7250
When Mon–Fri 7am–5pm, Sat–Sun 8am–5pm
Food ★★★☆☆
Coffee ★★★★☆


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