One of my regular city lunch spots is Purple Peanuts at the bottom end of Collins street. The food is great plus it’s cheap. The cafe is a little bit quirky with the menus handwritten on pieces of brown paper hanging from the wall and a collection of Japanese toys and lollies.
|Miso soup at Purple Peanuts|
The most basic test of a Japanese restaurant has to be its miso soup and the miso ($3.50) at Purple Peanuts is cloudy, caramel and rich. The menu sign promises that it is “made from all fresh ingredients not the packet stuff”.
|Chicken curry at Purple Peanuts|
The chicken teriyaki ($9.20) featured smokey charred chicken sticky and shiny with a sweet teriyaki sauce. It is served with rice and a small peanut flecked side salad.
|Tsuke Don Salmon at Purple Peanuts|
But my favourite dish is the Tsuke Don Salmon ($10.90) – it’s got a palette to rival Maybelline with a riot of colours on the plate thanks to the salmon sashimi that’s dressed with sake vinegar with cubes of cucumber and yellow Japanese prickles adding crunch. It’s super fresh and vibrant.
|The chefs at work in the Purple Peanuts kitchen with the hand written menu in the background|
Queues move pretty quickly here if you just want takeaway (Purple Peanuts do a great brown rice sushi) but it’s worth trying to nab one of the tables to enjoy the atmosphere at this bustling lunch spot.
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Details: 620 Collins St, Melbourne 3000, Mon-Sat 9am- 8.30pm
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve. It’s hard to spend more than $15 on lunch.