Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe

620 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

What is the least Japanese thing in existence? If you answered ‘aubergine cashews’ or ‘violet almonds’, you’re probably pretty close. But the people at Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe clearly doesn’t agree with the rest of us, and have been churning out quality Japanese food at the Southern Cross Station end of the CBD for the last few years. 

However, one thing they do agree with is that the best word to describe Japan is probably ‘quirky’, and they have embraced that when it came to decorating the shop. Here you’ll find paper lanterns in the shape of birds swinging from the ceiling, empty chocolate cartons lining the walls, and a bizarre light fixture that looks like a nest of snakes, at least to me. Strangely enough, there is no purple or peanuts to be seen.

Tsuke Don ($10.9)
Wanting a light pre-exam meal, I ordered the much-lauded Tsuke Don ($10.90). According to the menu board, it’s a very common fisherman’s breakfast, consisting of sashimi marinated in sake, sesame and soy, served with a mixed salad (lettuce, cucumber, red onion, pickles, sea weed) on top of vinegared rice. This whole dish was unbelievably fresh and zesty, and although the amount of salmon was modest, it was more than enough to add some richness to the dish. There was amazing textural contrast between the crispy pickles, the plump morsels of fish, and the fluffy white rice. Screw pharmacy, if this is really what Japanese fishermen eat then I think I’ve found my future career.

This was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a while; not only was it satisfying and nourishing, but it also made me feel good inside. I’m looking forwards to coming back to try some of the other dishes, though I doubt I’ll be lucky enough to get a seat the second time, as this place is very popular with the local office workers.

Rating: 15/20 – I want to be a fisherman

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Is that place new? I've been past it, and I think it used to be a small sushi shop?

    P.S. Do you have dessert? ^^

  2. Wording fail - Did you have dessert?

  3. I think it's been around for at least a good half year (if urbanspoon is to be believed), and I didn't have dessert, I'm not sure they had much in the way of that.

    I do have some ice cream in the fridge at home though :p