After getting toward the front of the queue, I was shouted at by one of the staff who asked me to order. It was a vexed situation as I had reviewed the menu on the wall and nothing looked so exciting that I wanted to order it so I was waiting to see what they had on display in the glass case, where the queue terminated as sweaty legal tender was exchanged at the terminus for the food and beverage, in this "cash only" funky cafe.
Ultimately I ordered a few sushi rolls - two spicy tuna rolls and one Japanese lobster roll along with a small cup of potato salad. What I liked about the rolls is that the cafe doesn't try to deceive you. In a fair amount of cases you will see sushi rolls with a fair amount of fish sticking out on one side however after you purchase it, you are disappointed that the fish doesn't occupy the whole roll. This dodgy tactic isn't employed at this cafe. The tuna wasn't exactly spicy and I wouldn't consider the addition of a strip of red capiscum a qualifier for the title. The Japanese lobster roll was bland and just okay. It certainly wasn't worth waiting in the queue for. My highlight was the potato salad as there were fresh and crunchy vegetables in it and was generally worth the money.
Not discounting the food fully as there are some value for money items on the menu and there is a reason why the place is so popular that a queue forms down Collins Street to get in however my gripes with the place is that there is no air conditioning, it is loud and you have about the same chance as getting a table as you do winning the Lotto. In fact, I retreated to a food court north of the cafe just so a seat could be secured. I may have to strategically return to this place in the off hours (if there are any) so that the crowds that can be likened to those at Southern Cross station are off doing something else and a more positive experience can be had.
Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe
Link to review
j20/620 Collins St Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9620 9548
no web site
My Rating: n/a
Value For Money: n/a
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
At the time of this post, 93% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe.