Skip to main content

Peko Peko


"Peko Peko" is Japanese for "Golden Yummy."

Okay, not really - but it might as well be.



I have been to Peko Peko (199 Smith Street, Collingwood) many times, but this was the first time I thought to blog it. I did my usual forget-photos thing, but I WILL get more. Promise. Mainly because it's so yummy I know I'll be going back soon. When I like a place, I go there over and over, and can therefore add new details from each visit (case in point: Three Bags Full. And Backstreet Eating).

Peko Peko is the Smith Street sista-from-another-mister... or just sister... to Otsumami in Northcote, whose reputation is generally top-notch. I've not been, but I'd like to, and I really like saying the name. OTSU-mami! Ot-su-MAMI! ("Sake-to-me!" Groooooaaaan.)  Like "Tootgarook", it's just too much fun not to say aloud.

I digress.

The best part about my recent visit to Peko Peko was the pretty, pretty sake. It's almost a shame to drink it because - imagine how valuable those bits of gold are!




The food is ALWAYS quality. What I like about it is that you get all the delicious traditional Japanese flavours and textures - light, sweet, soy, fresh - but they're not afraid to veer away from your bog-standard Japanese dishes served at every single Japanese restaurant in the whole world (it feels like).

For example, the agedashi tofu is beautifully cooked and presented, and there's not a lot you can do to mix it up:

Agedashi Tofu


But instead of your standard vegies, we had tempura MUSHROOMS (Oh. Em. Gee):

Tempura Mushrooms (all kinds). Mm hmmmmm.


We also had some delicious prawns - they were small, but peeled, plus there were heaps and they were soooo flavourful. (No pic... yes, I suck.)

The gyoza are a bit different, too: there's chickeny ones with coriander and stuff, and then some pumpkin ones. You can even get Nutella gyoza for dessert. There's black sesame ice-cream on offer, too, and I noticed on Otsumami's menu there are mochi available. I didn't see those on offer at Peko Peko but I would SO go there if they were. (Mochi are these funny squishy ice-cream thingies, available in all different flavours. They look kinda like blown-up macarons but are even DELICIOUSER*. Google-Images them, they're ahhhmaaaaazing.)

The vibe at Peko Peko is pretty chilled, and the staff don't talk a whole lot. They can be hard to flag down, but I have never found them to be rude. 

Design is simple: sparse, dark and warm. There are a few traditional Japanese touches, but nothing too cutesy or smothering. A tiered wooden shelving unit (resembling a staircase) provides a sort of mental divide between the kitchen and dining areas, and upstairs is a function room, visible from the ground level through a cut-out space in the wall. Modern! 

Out back is a sloping, bricked courtyard which houses the loos and some half-hearted fairy lighting. If the amenities weren't right there, it would probably be a lovely space to sit of a summer evening. 

It's not a large restaurant; definitely advisable to book, if you can. Most times I've been there it's been busy, and I've been turned away more than once. And not just because I looked like a hobo. (Wait, is that offensive? If so... sorry.)

Peko Peko is one of those places that I will mourn if it ever closes. It's just lovely. 


*New word. I said so.



Update: 11 January 2014 

Another recent-ish visit to Peko YUMMO afforded me the new knowledge that they also offer takeaway (awesome), and even drop food next door to Kent St Bar & Cafe.

I also thought it was worth nothing that our waitress was very artily dressed, but dour-faced, and the regular-dressed other waitress was much smilier. Must be something in those clothes putting your FROWN UPSIDE-DOWN, Arty Chick.

Additional pictures! (see, I TOLD YOU I WOULD)

Wooden staircase shelf thingy... storage too!

Cool placemats

Menu, for your visual and informational pleasure





Peko Peko on Urbanspoon

Popular posts from this blog

Spice Temple

Spice Temple  Neil Perry's Fine Dining Chinese Restaurant at Crown, Southbank, Melbourne
It's considered an institution in Melbourne, and with a chef to its name like Neil Perry, a location like Southbank, and an existence of six years in the Melbourne restaurant scene (when staying power is notoriously elusive), it's no wonder. Spice Temple's name is a pretty accurate description of the restaurant: food heavy in spices and spiciness; a dim space with a sort of hushed reverence.



The quiet tone of Spice Temple (Shop 7, Crown Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank) could well be due to its design. With lots of dark wood and more traditional red and gold carpet, one might be forgiven for thinking it's a little dated. What keeps it current is the symmetrical and perpendicular fittings, creating neat squared-off eating nooks, and the dark, felt-like soundproofing material spaced out overhead, muffling any white noise.



Walking into the restaurant's reception area, yo…

Entrecote

The shops along Domain Road, South Yarra have a reputation for being a bit posh. It is South Yarra, after all, and the majority are cafes and restaurants that take advantage of their location (opposite Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens) by providing some outdoor seating. Apparently The Real Housewives of Melbourne even frequent one or two venues along the strip.

A little further down the road, on the corner of Millswyn Street, EntrecĂ´te(131-133 Domain Road, South Yarra) is having a party of its own - still refined, but with a little more colour and personality. In operation as a Parisian-style steak bistro since January 2015, the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week in the former site of the infamous Lynch's Restaurant.



Business partners Jason McLaren Jones and Adam North developed the idea when they bumped into each other in Paris in late 2014. They took a meal together at the institutional Le Relais de L'EntrecĂ´te: a no-bookings bistro that ser…

Saint Crispin

When Smith Street had just become a local area for me, I used to walk past Cavallero and think about how I 'must try that place soon'. But as everyone knows, Smith Street (and surrounds) is not short of venues, and I must have been busy checking out all the others first, because before I knew it, Cavallero had closed and I had missed my chance. Apparently it had been struggling. Who then, would dare to take on the site, and what would they make of it? Smith Street is a prime location, but it's also full of competition. This would have to be good.



Enter Scott Pickett (Estelle Bistro) and Joe Grbac (The Press Club). Two chefs who used to work together at London's fancy-pants The Square (which boasts not one, but two Michelin stars), they joined forces to open a brand new venue as both business partners and co-head chefs. The result: Saint Crispin (300 Smith Street, Collingwood).

Named for the patron saint of shoemakers, Saint Crispin acknowledges its site's origins a…