Friday, December 23, 2011

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe

620 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Energy, this is not what I normally notice when I walk through the doors of most establishments, especially those serving Japanese. As soon as I stepped in to Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe though I was not struck by the food, but rather the energy of the place. The staff here are all youthful and buzzing with enthusiasm attracting all manner of clientele from students to suits.

After my attention shifted from the eclectic fit out featuring amongst many things a peculiar octopus over the fridge and a Beatles Japanese tour poster it moved to the food and there was a lot to take in. The handwritten menu on the back wall throws up a lot of choice and some unusual items such as Tofu Burgers amongst more traditional fare such as Soba noodles and assorted don dishes.

Purple Peanuts is not scared to serve up sushi made from brown rice and with that I was tempted by the Tuna onigiri to start with. Taking their recommendation to pair this with their chilli sauce, this was definitely a winner. The crusty exterior yielded to a nutty brown rice filling bursting with flavour, specs of tuna, spring onion, Spanish onion and carrot all combine harmoniously.

Moving on to the Gyuzara (aka Gyudon) and Miso, this I thought would be a bit more traditional and while the Gyudon didn't stray too much from convention, the inclusion of chunky vegies in the miso was both novel and welcome. The gyudon was pretty much spot on, thin slices of beef cooked in a sweet soy broth was hard to fault and at a mere $8.90 on it's own or $10.90 with soup is a bargain in the end of town many consider a dining wasteland.

Purple Peanuts is a welcome change from the more predictable Japanese cafes in town and certainly good enough for me to go out of my way to go there again.

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe - 4.5/5

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

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