Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe
Sitting at home with my eyes blaring from the bright light of my computer screen I decide that a tasty late lunch is in order. I mean, I did at least four straight hours of study...article after essay after opinion piece; I felt I deserved to try something new.
The place I went to today is not off my wonderful bucket list, it was something that I just stumbled across whilst day dreaming on Urban Spoon.
Rated quite highly on the website and approximately 7 minutes from where I am living at the moment; 'Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe' sits neatly inbetween the large business district of Collins Street and is quite accessible for anyone. A building that I have walked past a thousand times, never really taking notice of the interior, the one exclusion being the Japanese artwork of the Beatles that hangs above a refrigerator. Entering the small restaurant I felt as though I had walked into an average take-away sushi place that has the pre-packed sashimi accompanied by the wasabi in a plastic grass sheath... this is a pet hate of mine. But, I judged too soon; looking around the venue I noticed the attention to detail and the accommodating atmosphere. Cutlery is self serve and you can help yourself to your own jug of water and condiments (which I love).
The menu reads quite simply, meat seafood and vegetarian variations of three main styles: curries, salads or sashimi accompanied by a soup or optional white/brown rice is the basis of their dishes.
The handwritten menu adds a touch of informality which many Japanese restaurants have, as if to claim that a sleek stylised venue = high quality dining/meals.
'Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe' has a silly name, small venue, but some of the most delicious Japanese food I have ever eaten. Clean, healthy and organically sourced their meals seem to have purpose and don't come across as pretentious or stereotypical.
I ordered the prawn and buckwheat noodle salad with a side of miso soup. All of this only came to $11.90, which if you are familiar with Japanese food (especially quite large portions) is very cheap.
The salad was delicious, fresh and flavoursome. A creamy avocado and chilli based dressing sat beneath the noodles to allow a controlled portion. Overall the salad was exactly what I was craving and did not leave me hungry or feeling ill, two of the most common signs of a bad meal!
As I was not alone on this journey my very lovely date also enjoyed his slow cooked pork doused in a chilli sauce that wasn't too spicy. The pork was unbelievably tender and had the perfect amount of fat surrounding the meat making sure it was moist and not too dry.
'Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe' was surprising as the actual building it not overly nice (especially on a very hot day) to sit in as there was not any (noticeable) air conditioning. Apart from the building the food both cost wise and taste were perfect and exactly what anyone could want from authentic Japanese food with that hint of a Korean influence. I definitely recommend it for anyone trying to find a decent lunch in the CBD.