• Purple Peanuts - a Japanese style experience

It intrigues me how some restaurants hit instant popularity in Melbourne.  The hype around these seems to be as random as the forces affecting good PR.

Purple Peanuts reminds me of two places.  1: the ball restaurant.  This was an eatery that my friend urged me to try when I was in Barcelona.  Sure enough, he called it the ball restaurant because all the nutritious food was made in balls.  2: an onsen restaurant  in Tokyo.  This seems more related, as the food is at least similarly healthy and Japanese.

Purple Peanuts has the backing of simple, healthy Japanese food that has somehow been twisted into coolness.  The walls of this casual dining space are similarly ‘coolerised’ with Japanese cat figurines, a Beatles poster in Katakana and trendy shapes on the side.  Chilled music, funky décor, staff with accents – this place is trying hard.

The eclectic personality still produces some good stuff and some of this is vegetarian.  There is a tofu  burger, curry tofu, curry soba and a veggie salad.  I ordered the burger, my friend the salad.

The burger patty was freshly made with a combination of tofu, beans, carrot, egg, oats, onion, sake, sesame and ginger (according to its signed description).  It was served with salad and teriyaki sauce in a Turkish roll.

The patty was slightly fried so that the outside was nicely crispy and the middle warm.  The resounding flavour was, of course, the sauce.  It was Japanese-inspired, rather than true Japanese, but it retained the Japanese essence of light and healthy eating with care.

The salad that my friend ordered was pleasant.  She does not eat chilli so the noodles seemed a little bland and the salad was not dressed.

We also had miso.  This was done slightly sweet with chunks of veggies.  I really liked the presentation of the bowls and spoons, but the later gave a woody taste, like sucking on magnum stick to get all the chocolate off (what?  who would do that?).

I liked the meal.  It was pleasant, different food and the atmosphere matched.  After an intense gym work-out I was still hungry afterwards, but maybe I just need to try and eat less.  Food blogging does not seem to help.

As we ate, others continued coming in and out for take-away.  Yes, this café has already taken-off.

Purple Peanuts
620 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000
03 9620 9548

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. After having visited Japan for the first time this year I was wondering what the food was like at Purple Peanuts..sounds like it might be worth visiting for a healthy lunch! Thanks Elisa.

  2. Hi Catherine, thanks for your comment. Yes, it's probably better for lunch than for dinner. But NOTHING compares to the food in Tokyo... except maybe the food in Spain. ;)

  3. Oh i absolutely love love love the tofu burger at purple peanuts! I work in the building next door, and this is always my lunch time choice. It's so nice to have an interesting vegetarian option, and especially a burger. The place to the right of PP, Perk Up, do a couple of good vegetarian options as well, like a daal roti wrap and vegetarian, gluten-free arancini balls and frittatas. Also, there is another japanese place around the corner from here called BrimCC which is organic, and does really good vegetarian curry :) .

  4. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for your comments. I used to work close by too. There was a tasty and cheap Japanese cafe behind the building but sadly it has since closed down. I am yet to try BrimCC.
    Great blog. I can't believe your mum made you a croquembouche!!

  5. I am really enjoying your blog, so glad you like mine too! Yep the croquembouche was amazing, made even more so by the fact it was gluten free as well! Do you have any tips on how to get people to comment on my blog posts? I know people read it, but no one ever says anything!

  6. Hi Laura, I've just emailed you with some links. Hope they help! And thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog ;)