Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bodhi Cafe

Mr T and I stumbled across a new vegetarian restaurant today by accident. It's called Bodhi Cafe and is located at 241 Victoria st, Abbotsford near the corner of punt rd and Victoria st. It was perfect timing because we were starving.

I ordered kumquat tea and BBQ Pork with fragrant rice (flavoured with mint and soybean crisps) and Mr T ordered the tofu don dish. The kumquat tea was perfectly sweet, the BBQ pork was beautifully presented and the rice was so yummy you could eat it by itself. The BBQ pork itself was up to the standards of all the mock meat places in Melbourne. Unlike other Chinese veg places in Melb though this had a more relaxed cafe feel, and instead of just BBQ pork you got a bit of a variety on your plate. Mr T thought his meal was boring but he did order the dish minus the egg that it normally comes with and if you ask me he ordered the most boring thing on the menu.

Kumquat tea (almost finished ohhps)

BBQ Pork

Mr T's 'boring' tofu don dish

I was very impressed, the decor was cute, the food was cheap with mains costing between $8 to $9 and best of all it is open til 11pm everyday except for Monday.

On the downside or the upside depending on your perspective there are more teas and coffees to chose from than there are main meals. There are only 10 mains to choose from but you can order things like lavender latte, and peanut butter coffee and red date/longan tea. They also had entrees like spring rolls and chicken nuggets and a variety of desserts (none of the desserts looks vegan friendly though). The mains alone though left us quite full. Here's a copy of the mains page on the menu:

It reminded me of Hong Kong cafes and like a smaller version of Fo Guang Yuan tea house.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

It was only after I returned from Hong Kong that I discovered that vegan mooncakes exist.

I visited an asian supermarket today and stood in line with about 30 other people to purchase some more mooncakes (my second box).

I recommend red bean paste ones or lotus seed flavoured mooncakes. They normally say on the labels how many egg yolks they have in them so just look for the ones that don't have any eggs in them, they are generally the cheapest. They also come in pretty red tin boxes which I am sure I will find some purpose for. Tradition has it that you should cut each one into 4 or 8 pieces see here for instructions (yes someone actually posted pics of how to cut a mooncake).

Pic taken from

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vegan food in Hobart

We wandered around the first day in Hobart itself and stumbled across a cafe called tricycle cafe which did organic fairtrade coffee which made Mr T very happy. We had already had breakfast but prior to our 6.45am flight so we decided to share a second breakfast. We ordered the chilli beans on toast minus the cheese and the waitress was nice enough to split it on to two plates even though we only ordered one plate and she was also smart enough to realise that no cheese means no margarine too. The dish was great, it had just the right amount of spiciness and the avocado and lemon went really well with it. It's a really cute place too, gorgeous wallpaper and old pictures of tricycles cover at least one of the walls and good music. Mr T approved of the coffee too. It kind of reminds me of Pushka in Melbourne.

Next we tried Tassie's only Chinese veg restaurant Shu Yuan. Maybe we have been spoiled too much with good Chinese veg food in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong but this place was just disappointing. I ordered a plate of rice with two dishes, and Mr T ordered a plate with 3 dishes. It was not enough food, and expensive for precooked small meals. It reminded me of veg out time but the food wasn't as tasty or as big or as cheap. In fairness though maybe the meals made to order are better. I guess if you no other Chinese veg option than it's ok. I feel bad for posting a not so great review, and the truth is the food taste wise is not bad but just not great.

Our next place was by far our favourite: Sirens. I was surprised to find it empty when we wandered in around 6.30pm on a friday night and that only a few tables were filed up by the time we left. For a veg restaurant I was a little disappointed to discover that there was huge cheese focus and that they only had 3 vegan mains and 1 vegan dessert but when the few options are great I don't mind not have many options. I had the smoked tofu with pesto and Mr T had one of the special board meals: the stuffed Eggplant with polenta and chili chocolate sauce which will feature on the new menu which starts next week. My meal was good and Mr T's was amazing. Chocolate and chilli go so well together, but you already know that! And the nutty stuffing inside the eggplant, mmmm I was jealous that I didn't order it . Next we had the amazing dark chocolate mousse with a cashew crust served with coconut sorbet and their dark chocolate 'bikkies' which were also featured on their specials boards. I was so excited I forgot to take pics. The bikkies tasted like healthier homecooked version of chocolate oreos. And Cindy was right about the mousse, it was certainly the star of the night and I would recommend you fly to Hobart to try it. I'm not sure if I would agree it was the best vegan dessert ever (that prize has to go one of the cakes at Vegetarian Orgasm) but it's certainly up there. The crust was perfectly sweet and nutty the mousse rich and chocolatey and the coconut sorbet the perfect side. The only downside of Sirens was the prizes, Mr T's main for example was $19 but it was so worth it.

Lunch on sat we had two different types of vegan pies from one of the stalls at the end of salamanca market which were just ok and a little pricey at $4.50 for take away but convenient. If you are going for convenient though I suggest the vegan shepherd pie over the curried veg pie.

The following night we decided to go back to Sirens, this time we wandered in at a little past 6pm to again an empty restaurant and asked if it was open yet? The waitress replied it was but unless we had a booking it was all booked out. How does a restaurant goes from empty on a fri night to booked out on a sat? I felt like a fool for not booking and on Mr T's actual birthday but I had no idea.

So we decided to try Annapurna Indian Restaurant which apparently doesn't use gee. We walked in only to discover that luckily we got the last table in the double story restaurant. Which was strange considering there a was another Indian restaurant opposite it and Hobart appeared to be dead. What everyone eats out on sat in Hobart and no-one eats out on a friday? We ordered their onion bhajis and spinach pakoras.(both on the specials menu) We were surprised to find these huge looking plates instead of the usual small servings of entrees in Indian restaurants. They were both delicious and quite filling. I loved the lemon pieces to squeeze over them.

Please note this pic was taken after we had already started making a mess and eating them. They were actually bigger and prettier.

For mains we had dal (not because I am boring but because I figured I needed a little bit of protein and iron and other legume goodness) which tasted like a thousand other dals and a pumpkin curry which had the just the right amount of tang and was delicious. It also gets a thumbs up for decor as it didn't appear to be as tacky or as cheap looking as other Indian restaurants I have been to and the service was great. I explained at the beginning that I am allergic to dairy (white lie) and am vegetarian and asked what my options could be and there was about a dozen main meals and almost every entree to chose from. Yes more vegan choices at Indian restaurant than a veg restaurant.

On sun we packed a lunch as we were warned that everything was closed. We were glad we did because Hobart is completely empty most of the shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants are all closed on Sunday . All in all with a tiny bit of planning and possibly booking for Sat nights Hobart was was quite vegan friendly. Sure it doesn't complete with the amount of choices in Melbourne but for a small city/town it was great. I just want to go back to Sirens again!

Monday, September 3, 2007

I suck at making/decorating cakes

I decided to make Mr T a cake for his birthday since it's such a big birthday (30th). I made a vegan cheesecake using this recipe from vegweb.

The 'cheesecake' part actually tasted pretty good and even my family approved. The problem is the crust tasted a little burnt despite me following the cooking instructions. It also looked little too brown and well ugly on top. It was also much smaller that I imagined. This is the slightly better look with melted chocolate and strawberries. Next time I will skip the chocolate. I had to decorate it in a hurry for a family celebration and Mr T ended up actually decorating his own cake. Poor Mr T!