Food and Drink


Breakfast in Balaclava

Posted by


Old Italian gents sipping coffee in suits, perfectly dressed Nonnas at the tram stop and Hassidic Jews shopping at Polish deli’s – Balaclava’s “old world” smack bang in the Southside. And it’s here I find the best new vegetarian cafe on the block, Monk Bodhi Dharma.

I’m not one for a sweet breakfast, which is bizarre considering the sweet tooth I have. Give me some beans or tahini on toast any day over pancakes. So it’s with a heaving, leg shaking sigh I declare Monk Bodhi Dharma’s vegan french toast the most amazing sweet breakfast I have ever eaten. It’s some kind of voodoo. I don’t know what the toast is dipped in, what the sweet, pistachio laden labne-like substance it’s served with or what they poach that massive pear in, but combine it together on a plate and I’m crawling on my knees beggin’ you please.

We also had the beans, which were equally as delicious but let’s not pretend I’m thinking about anything other than the french toast. The coffee is excellent, with many free trade blends available as well as all that nouveau siphon coffee craze stuff. The interior is recycled minimalist chic, the staff dreadlocked and zen like.

Very gluten free friendly and with what seems the only breakfast degustation event in Melbourne (and all vegan to boot!) Monk Bodhi Dharma is seriously impressive.

Monk Bodhi Dharma
Rear, 202 Carlisle St, Balaclava
9534 7250
Mon – Fri 7am – 5pm
Sat – Sun 8am – 5pm

Follow Carla’s culinary crusades at