These days, I'm starting to catch the train from Southern Cross Station which I would relate to walking around in Asia - annoyingly crowded with pushy people. A complete nightmare in my books as I hate crowds (with a passion) and I usually come out the end, red-faced, sweaty with scuffs on my shoes from people stepping on me (WHY!!). The silver lining is that I get to try out restaurants this side of town which I normally don't visit. My first stop was Purple Peanuts after work one day, which is very popular especially during lunch hours. Purple Peanuts has a small range of modern Japanese dishes written up on the board and also offer sushi rolls at the counter, although I found the prices of the sushi rolls steep compared to my usual sushi store, Sushi Monger.
I ended up ordering for both Mr A and I as he couldn't make out anything on the board and Pork belly is always a good choice when I see it on the menu. The Japanese rendition of it results in a slow braised, tender meat so who can lose. The pork belly was complemented by a sweet and spicy sauce and some savoury broth. On the side was a mix of salad leaves and pickled vegetables which didn't do much for me.
I was craving gyu-don so I assumed that Gyuzara would be the same, if not similar. The thin strips of beef marinated in a sweet soy-based broth were satisfying to my empty stomach and the rice soaked in the flavoursome broth made for a hearty meal.
The miso soup had a variety of vegetables mixed into the soup which added a sweet taste to it but I didn't like it as much as the normal savoury miso flavour and would have much preferred the typical addition of seaweed and tofu.
Purple Peanuts offer a simple menu with a modern twist and the prices are at good value considering the location. I wouldn't hesitate to return for dinner or lunch if I can skip the lines but I'll be giving the miso soup a miss next time. Check it out!
Will I return? Yes, for a quick and tasty bite.
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe
620 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9620 9548
Mon to Sat 10am - 8:30pm
Onto another modern cafe, I revisited Peko Peko and it was still as wholesome, tasty and easy on the wallet as ever.
Mr A wanted to take his parents out to eat Taiwanese so Peko Peko was a great, affordable spot.
Starting off with the Taiwanese sausages which were fatty with a sweet taste and I could have eaten this serving all to myself. A great snack to ease our stomachs in before our dishes arrived.
We didn't think the devil chicken ribs were anything special as we had an expectation that they would have a fiery kick hence the name 'devil' but nonetheless, they were crispy outside, tender inside and well cooked.
Once again, I ordered the About Beef noodle soup and it was wholesome, hearty with a herbal taste. The noodles were softer this time which let the dish down as I really enjoyed the al dente texture on my previous visit.
The pop chicken was consistently nice and crunchy but with such a large amount piled into the bento box, I would never be able to get through the serving.
The honey glazed chicken was very crisp and sticky with a light honey flavour; usually I detest dishes like these but Ming recommended it and I have to agree that it is indeed yum!
Gotta love it when a family of 6 can eat dinner and be stuffed for just under $90. Peko Peko isn't anything fancy but it's great value for delicious and satisfying food.
Apparently the world is coming to an end this Friday, but that doesn't stop me from making restaurant reservations - we're going out to celebrate one of our good friend's birthday which should be lots of fun! Anyone stockpiling food?
Will I return? Yes, the food is tasty and excellent value.
190 Wells Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9686 1109
Mon - Thurs 10:30am - 9pm
Fri 10:30am - 9:30pm
Sat 12pm - 9:00pm