It has a distinct Japanese feel to it but at the same time it’s modern and fitting of its location where most of its customers are white collar workers in nearby buildings.
The menu on the wall is handwritten, showing reasonable prices for traditional meals like teriyaki chicken and innovative ones like tofu and veggie burgers.
If you don’t have time for a sit down meal, you still have the choice of getting pre-made sushi and salad.
Yuye ordered the chicken curry ($9.20) which came with flame grilled chicken and a nice, although slightly light, curry sauce. The flame grilled chicken gives it a charred taste compared to your regular pan fried chicken. The dish though did lack a bit of veggies and potatoes that you would have gotten in some other Japanese restaurants but there was sufficient sauce to go with all the rice.
I felt like something different that day and decided to order a healthy choice of tsuke don ($10.90) which came with chopped pieces of fresh salmon, Japanese pickles and various veggies on top of rice. It definitely tasted healthy but was a little bit light on taste for me. The mix of flavours were a little confusing on my taste buds, although it was a bit like a deconstructed sushi roll, just without the seaweed. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a bad dish for how much money I paid for it.
What excited me the most wasn’t the meals though, it was the desserts. Everywhere I looked, the word YUZU jumped out at me. It’s my favourite Japanese flavoured anything! For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you might know I’m a bit obsessed with Yuzu. So much so that I plan on growing my own yuzu tree when I finally buy my own house. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that’s used in a lot of dishes and desserts in Japan. It’s round, tastes sort of in between mandarin and lemon and doesn’t have much juice so its rind is used more for flavouring. If you haven’t tried it before, you must give it a go, whether it’s a yuzu cake, yuzu drink or anything you can get your hands on really. Trust me.
There were just too many choices, not only yuzu but also black sesame, matcha (green tea) and strawberry flavoured goodies amongst others. After much agonising thought, I finally settled on the yuzu lemon cheesecake ($5). It was a little denser than I liked and the yuzu flavours were not all that strong which was a shame but it was nice enough to eat it all myself. I’d happily come back to try all of their desserts and snacks though.
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe provides a casual dining scene in a busy CBD locale with cheap and tasty food coupled with great service. If you’re after a good Japanese meal with a twist that’s not going to empty your wallet, this is the place to be.
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe
Phone: (03) 9620 9548
620 Collins St Melbourne, VIC 3000