I’ve just returned from a family trip to Sydney (more on that soon) and naturally I did my research on all the vegan options before I left!
One place that sounded great was Bodhi In The Park. Located right near beautiful Hyde Park, I was plenty pleased that I was within good walking distance. The reviews I read seemed mostly favourable so when Husband took the kids off to Darling Harbour, I went off to get lunch (we’d been at the Australian Museum all morning and I went without food until 1pm so I was ravenous and would have eaten my children).
Bodhi wasn’t that difficult to find and the set up outside is quite lovely:
When I went up to look at the menu, I was looking at the mains menu when a waiter seated me outside and told me it was yum cha service. I don’t know if that meant yum cha was the only option for lunch but I’ve never had all vegan yum cha before, so I thought why not? I love yum cha.
First up was the mock bbq pork rolls. These were tasty but could have done with more filling:
Next was spicy tofu with mashed potato which seemed interesting enough. Tasty but nothing mind blowing but as I waited twenty minutes for this to come out after the pork rolls, they seemed full on gourmet:
And now for all the downsides. This is where SAD FACE comes in to it. So get your tissues ready.
Service was slooow. I mean painfully, crying-inducing slow. When you go to yum cha you kinda expect the food to come thick and fast. Instead I watched as wait staff brought out two or three baskets of yum cha and asked the tables near me if they wanted anything. The answer was always yes which meant I was never offered anything and had to wait. And wait. And waaaait. Why on earth would you bring two baskets when eight tables are waiting and there are more than two people at each table? It got to the point where I was beginning to feel quite angry about it– I’d see a waitress approach with two baskets on her tray (and each basket often contained three items of the one recipe) and I was there for over an hour WAITING. And the staff would go to other tables in a random order, offer them the food and of course they’d take it because we were all bloody hungry. So it meant the rest of the tables had to wait. Diners around me were quite vocal (to eachother) about their dissatisfaction and a few had to ask the waitresses if more food was coming out (the answer was “yes, more food always comes out”…).
Lunch shouldn’t take over an hour where 95% of that time is spent watching the staff sail by you and serving the people who arrived long after you. What should have been a lovely outdoor vegan dining experience was just full of delay and confused staff who were not always able to answer my questions.
In the end I got so frustrated because I waited well over an hour between my first dish and when they came back out with a loaded tray (yippee!) it only contained the dishes I’d already had. Boo CRY SOB.
So I did what I usually do when I’m feeling crapski. I asked for the dessert menu. I figured I might have better luck if I ordered something off the menu. The friendly waiter brought out the dessert menu. Then he disappeared. And I waited again. And waited. AND WAITED. Staff seemed oblivious to my “excuse me waiter” face.
In the end I had enough, went to pay the bill and was asked what I had to drink. I said nothing because I wasn’t even asked! I did have the glass of water come out and it was refilled and I could hear the other diners being asked if they’d like anything to drink. But not me.
It was such an incredibly disappointing experience. To spend an hour and a half at yum cha, only to have two dishes come out (or other dishes, half an hour later when I’d already had them) was beyond a joke. So unfortunately I can’t recommend Bodhi at all which is a real shame, as I’d love to plug vegan yum cha in gorgeous surroundings.
Bodhi in the Park is located at 2-4 College Street, Sydney to the east of Hyde Park (right near the Cook and Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre).