Neko Neko is a new Japanese cafe on Gertrude St near the corner of Smith St (where Karavan used to be). They serve a variety of bento style plates (similar to Mina No Ie), smaller dishes and sushi maki. I’d been curious to try them and I’m glad I got in before they become better known, as I’m sure the tiny space will soon become extremely busy despite it being another entrant in the growing Japanese precinct around Smith St.
It’s a small space that several iterations of Karavan struggled and failed to make work, but it has been given the current white tiled postmodern butchershop treatment, like the nearby Burnside (formerly Dr Java) and seemingly everywhere else, and subsequently looks much larger than the previous darkly painted interior.
And the food is really good. I chose the panko crumbed salmon with wasabi tartar sauce, which came with red rice, corn on the cob, lotus root, pasta, eggplant, green bean, and potato and carrot salad accompaniments. One of my friends had sushi maki and declared it to be excellent.
There’s a tendency towards contemporary trends I am extremely dubious about (‘superfoods’ appears on the menu along with quinoa maki) but I was in a forgiving mood today (that and what I ordered claimed to possess no metaphysical properties). There are good vegetarian choices for those thus inclined too.