Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe Location: 620 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9620 9548 First you have to locate Purple Peanuts (situated on the far side of Collins Street), but once you’ve found it, it’s one of those gorgeous gems that you’ll find yourself making excuses to keep coming back to, time and time again. It’s an absolute hot spot for health-concious CBD lunch-goers, with the quaint cafe also sporting a solid following for its dinner meals (open til 8:30pm). The fit out is both insanely colourful and quirky, with empty meiji packets lining one of the wooden boards, and a giant stuffed octopus guarding the drinks fridge. A line of paper hearts dangles from the top, adding a sense of intimacy and infectious cuteness. You come back not only for the interesting, modern takes on the more usual Japanese fare, but also the friendly service, the quality sushi and sashimi, and the affordability of it all.
Chicken curry with miso soup ($11.20)If you’re looking for something a little heartier, the chicken curry goes down a treat. The grilled chicken is tender and accompanied by chunks of potatoes that have been smothered in a smooth yet tasty curry sauce. Quite similar to the Don Don’s version, though a lot lighter and it feels a tad healthier.
Chicken curry with miso soup ($11.20)
Salmon sashimi with miso soup ($11.50)The miso soup is impeccable here – a warm and hearty soup with a bomb of mixed vegetables sitting at the bottom. Great value for money and the perfect add-on to the meals here.
Salmon sashimi with miso soup ($11.50)Out of the two dishes, I preferred the salmon sashimi with rice. At $11.50 it was an absolute bargain; the salmon sashimi was cut into fresh, melt-in-your-mouth pieces, and dressed in a delectably tangy sauce. Whether it’s lunch or dinner, Purple Peanuts is one of those places that you could comfortably obtain takeaway fare and never feel guilty in doing so. I adore the sushi and onigiri here, and their brown rice salad is a great way to kick off a summer diet. Quirky by name and by nature, it’s a winner and I’ll definitely be back for more.