I already had the pleasure of attending one of Monk Bodhi Dharma’s breakfast degustations but couldn’t resist the invitation to another. Tresna of Foodhands had organised for a bunch of us to go but she herself could not make it. This meant that I didn’t know who my dining companions were going to be! It was actually pretty exciting.
As usual, I underestimated time needed to navigate peak hour traffic and was late. When I arrived, @laramcpherson, a woman of countless talents, and @cakemistress, another lass of considerable culinary prowess were chatting like fast friends. It was such an honour to breakfast with such diverse ladies!
I don’t know how head chef Kate does it. The menu was so different to what I’d previously experienced here. We were started with a Swedish style smultron lime soup and strawberry salad. If you want to kickstart your tastebuds and your metabolism, this is just the dish to do it! It’s zesty and invigorating.
Although MBD is a fab place if you’re in need of an excellent coffee fix, it also takes tea very, very seriously. With your degustation, you get the choice of two drinks and I started with some tea – their Ceylon Greenfield Estate. I do have a fondness for the crockery used too: the slightly uneven handle-free cup that you clasp between your hands as you bring it to your lips. I plan to go back and slowly work my way through their extensive tea menu. There is something about a perfectly made cup of tea that feels like home. I get horribly grumpy when it’s too hot in Australian summer to drink a cup in the morning!
The next dish had me quaking in my boots. I had completely forgotten to tell the staff that while not allergic to avocado, I can’t eat it because it seems to set off an existing tummy ailment. I decided I’d eat the dish anyway and incur the wrath (that is, crippling pain and swelling) later.
Having said that, this is one of my favourite dishes of the year. Yeah, a big call given some of the fan-freaking-tastic places I’ve dined at. Behold – the King oyster mushroom and avocado ‘carpaccio’ with grated black truffle, drizzled with jalapeno oil. Can they please make this a permanent dish on the menu? Please? I am still dreaming about those gorgeous slices of earthy yet luxurious truffle. (NB. curiously my stomach decided to not to rebel. There was much rejoicing)
Did I mention that this was served with beautiful bread? One type of the miniature loaves had pumpkin seeds, yum!
Time for another beverage. This time I chose the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe as a pourover at Kate’s recommendation. Lucky me, it was the last one available. Alas, my palate isn’t refined enough to pick out the bubblegum characteristics it supposedly has.
We’re not finished yet! Last course was a deconstructed cashew and fresh vanilla bean ‘cheesecake’ with pear, white chocolate & almond biscuit crumble. This was finished off with Jamaican spiced cashews and pear chips. Normally, I hate on ‘deconstructed’ dishes something shocking. No hate here – I loved it and yes, it really was deconstructed as opposed to on my plate in several pieces. In my mind, ‘deconstructed’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘in several pieces’ but rather ‘disassembled’. Again, I blame the arts degree. The texture and taste of the ‘cheesecake’ bit reminded me of the Indian sweet barfi. Alas, if you’re allergic to nuts, then this course is not suitable for you.
Also, out of Lara & Em, I was the only one game enough to eat my pansy. Hey, I’m still alive.
Not content to spoil us with three extremely inventive and mouthwatering courses, we were sent on our merry way with a parting trio of vanilla bean miniature cupcakes, rosewater pistachio truffles and Vanuatu chocolate truffles. Even the inner (and generally well-hidden) girlie girl in me squeed at the sight of the cupcakes.
Just like the first one, all this will set you back $30 and if requested, you can have everything vegan-friendly. I was on such a high from scrumptious food and wonderful company for the whole day. Breakfast really does set you up for the rest of the day!
Monk Bodhi Dharma has just started doing dinners too. I’m planning to have dinner there one day before the monthly Ale Stars session (they’re both very close to each other) – can’t wait.