About Bodhi Restaurant Bar
Enlightened food, good for the body, great for the soul.
Established in 1988, family owned and operated for 3 generations Bodhi is a stunning restaurant located in the middle of Cook + Philip Park under St Mary's Cathedral in the heart of the city.
Nestled under ancient Moreton Bay fig trees, this unique parkland oasis is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with easy access parking and walking distance to public transport. Featuring 3 distinct entertainment areas with indoor and outdoor seating the restaurant can be formatted in a number of ways to cater for exclusive events, weddings and corporate functions.
Bodhi is a critically acclaimed and award-winning restaurant that pioneered and specialises in vegan Yum Cha and Pan-Asian cuisine.
With an emphasis on fresh ingredients our produce is locally sourced and organic where possible, the food is prepared daily and hand crafted using traditional techniques by expert chefs, creating a range of seasonal mouthwatering dishes to choose from.
The cocktail menu uses the very best organic herbs, fruits, fresh pressed juices and bespoke syrups, whilst the range of craft beers and Australian boutique wines has been thoughtfully selected from local growers using organic, bio-dynamic or environmentally friendly farming practices to compliment our cuisine and go hand in hand with our business philosophy.
See Bodhi Restaurant and Bar Media Kit
About the owner
As a third-generation restaurateur and first Australian-born member of a migrant family, hospitality is in Heaven Leigh’s blood. Her grandparents came from Malaysia in the early 60’s and ran the Lady Jade Chinese takeaway shops in Dundas Valley and Chatswood through to the 1970s. Her mother, Lee-Leng Whong founded the original Bodhi concept in 1988, Australia’s first vegan yum cha restaurant. It was Lee-Leng’s spiritual journey and interest in vegan food that led Heaven to where she is today, as the owner and operator of Bodhi Restaurant Bar.
Bodhi was initially a great success and at one stage the family had seven vegan/vegetarian businesses around Sydney. In the late 90s Heaven opened her first standalone restaurant named Bodhidharma next to the Capitol Theatre, offering a menu of modern fusion Australian and Asian-influenced cuisine. Bodhidharma was a success and gave Heaven a unique opportunity to learn how to run a business on her own. However she was eager to return back to her food roots by taking the original restaurant concept that her mother created and modernising it to become more relevant for a new generation of diners.
This led to the 2000 relaunch of Bodhi Restaurant Bar at Cook + Phillip Park, a site the venue continues to occupy to this day. In 2005, Heaven travelled to London where she honed her craft and worked in some of London’s best modern Asian restaurants.
With a natural curiosity, an authentic down to earth style that is inclusive of all different types of people, lifestyle choices and dietary needs, Heaven has spent much of her career collaborating with like minded businesses, celebrating her multicultural heritage, advocating for women supporting women in the workplace (both the lunch and dinner Head Chefs are amazing women) and making plant-based food fun and accessible for people to incorporate into their lives.
Bodhi today is the longest running and largest vegan establishment in Australia. Much more than just a restaurant, it has become a well-known, community hub for vegans and non-vegans interested in plant-based food and lifestyle. The restaurant’s regular newsletters shine a light on plant-based products and the people behind them. In November 2018 Bodhi held its inaugural ‘Nup the Cup’ charity lunch, as an alternative to Melbourne Cup Day, which has now become a permanent fixture in its social calendar.
Heaven is also an avid traveller and enjoys writing and filming about her journey exploring plant-based cuisine around the globe, meeting chefs, restaurateurs and growers to hear about their different philosophies. Heaven brings these learnings back to Bodhi where she shares her knowledge with her audience and experiments with new concepts in food and beverage menus, continuously evolving Bodhi’s offering and making the restaurant a permanent industry leader in pan-Asian plant-based cuisine.
See Heaven Leigh Media Kit