Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe, Melbourne CBD

At this popular eatery, posters of American and Japanese jazz and blues bands and The Beatles cover the sides of the room from floor to ceiling. A menagerie of good blues guitar plays throughout the afternoon and a place that has good taste in music counts as a step in my favour. You can score a tasty meal here that won’t hurt the hip pocket as prices are pleasantly low-priced.

The entire menu is hand written on butcher’s paper and taped up high on the wall behind the counter, making deciding more efficient as throngs of people queue up here for lunch.

That's a happy octopus

Some takeaway goods

There’s an absence of chocolate in this café, green tea and fruit based sweets however are plentiful, get stuck into some matcha brownies or matcha cookies their muted shade of green often put people off but try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how addictive you’ll find this distinctive flavour.

Tsuke don $10.90

The description for the tsuke don reads: “Premium grade salmon sashimi marinated in mirin, sake, sesame and soy served with vinegared rice and mixed salad.” Though the flavours marry well together, there is no airconditioning or fans either and the cubes of salmon sashimi and salad leaves promptly become warm because of the summer heat. Probably best to order this one on cooler days, unfortunately I wasn’t up to finishing a plate full of lukewarm, raw fish.

Onigiri $4.50

Carb porn

Packed into a pyramid package is tuna, brown vinegared rice and a mix of diced celery, carrot, spring onion, ginger, roasted almonds, fried until crispy and doused in a sweet chilli peanut sauce. Unlike traditional onigiri where white rice is used and it never sees oil, this deep fried version is scrumptious and generous with tuna. This was amazing and is the one thing on the menu you should try. 

If there’s anything that three years of learning Japanese has taught me, it’s that it hasn’t explained what purple peanuts have to do with this adorable café in Melbourne.

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

Opening hours

Mon-Sat : 10am to 8.30pm

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