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Monday, October 10, 2011

Purple Peanuts

October 6, 2011
The first I heard about Purple Peanuts, the newish Japanese cafe at the Spencer Street end of the city, was when Carla starting name-checking it on a weekly basis. Her enthusiasm was pretty infectious, and Cindy and I put it straight on our mental lists of places to check out in the near future. A plan-less Thursday night and a lack of cooking enthusiasm was all the excuse we needed to make it happen.

Purple Peanuts has made its reputation as a speedy city lunch place, with queues often stretching out the door. Things are a bit more manageable in the evenings - we had our pick of tables at 6:30, and didn't feel any pressure to rush out to make space. The menu offers loads of vegie delights: a couple of curries, a salad and a soup, a burger and a few other bits and pieces (all <$10). I took Carla's advice and ordered the onigiri rice ball salad ($7.9 + $2 for miso soup).

The only salads available in the evening were the incredible brown-rice salad, filled with vegies and other goodies and the creamy potato salad. Both were excellent, light, fresh and filled with flavour. The onigiri ball was served cold, but still managed a nice combination of crispy fried skin and rich rice filling. As much as I loved the rice salad, the meal ended up being a bit heavily rice based - I'd probably rather have a couple of non rice salads to accompany the onigiri.

Cindy went for the gammodoki tofu vegie burger (a patty made of tofu, egg, beans, carrot, onion, oats, sake, sesame and ginger served on a Turkish roll with mixed salad and teriyaki sauce, $9).

She was very impressed. The patty was the star, a dense and tasty invention that had us thinking of Cibi's tofu patty and pondering how to make something similar at home.

Purple Peanuts does an excellent line in fresh, healthy and cheap food - a pretty impressive combination. The vibe is low-key and casual - it feels like a lunch place even at dinner - and service is friendly and efficient. I'm not sure it's somewhere we'll make a specific effort to visit too often, but if you're in the area you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to grab a bite.



Purple Peanuts
620 Collins Street, Melbourne
9529 3988
veg food $7.9-9.5

Accessibility: Purple Peanuts has a flat entryway, but is fairly crowded inside. Ordering and payment happens at a lowish counter. We didn't check out the bathrooms.


  1. That tofu patti sounds delicious!! I've made tofu burgers once in the past with mushrooms, cashews, sunflower seeds etc but I like the sound of oats, sesame and ginger. I might try it! :)

  2. there aren't any bathrooms last time i checked. The last time I went there they told me that the bathrooms were across the road at Southern Cross station. I guess why they didn't put bathrooms in their cafe is because the rent is too high.
    xo: newinstudents blog.
    and thanks for referring us

  3. did you see that purple peanuts was one of the top 5 vegetarian burgers recently - I think it was the age but am not quite sure if this is where I saw it - made me want to try them so am glad to hear it is really that good

  4. Hannah - since they gave us the full ingredient list on the menu, it's just begging to be copied at home!

    Hi katy_em! Thanks for the bathroom report. :-)

    Johanna - yeah, I think that was an Age article. I reckon this just about is top 5 material!

  5. Hi Cindy! That burger does look similar to the Dojo's one. But you're right, that's some serious rice-overload. Man, Melbourne has all the cool veggie restaurants!

  6. Heya Angela! We are blessed with great restaurants down here. I still like the accomplishment of working out how to make these things at home though. :-)