Whenever I eat or visit somewhere that I think is outstanding I face a dilemma: write about it and share my discovery so others can find it too and the business can benefit, or keep it to myself so I can enjoy it without it changing? Unfortunately I’m terrible at keeping food secrets, so I have to tell you that my new favourite magical place is Kappaya Japanese soul food cafe on Johnston St in Abbotsford (just east of Hoddle St).
Lunch is a kind of deconstructed bento box served on a plate. You can mix and match various options, such as miso soup, and different rice balls, including ones with prawn or tempura vegetables. Below you can see the vegetable tempura rice ball (top, with prawn ball hiding behind it), chicken (right), tofu ball (bottom) and cabbage salad (left). Everything is delicious and beautifully presented.
Another of the rice balls featured salmon, which my girlfriend said was excellent.
We finished our meal with a matcha (green tea) cake that was as green as the photo suggests and quite yummy!
I don’t want to be responsible for Kappaya becoming huge and leaving their present location for somewhere larger and less intimate (like Hako has done, though I ate at their larger premises recently and can say the food remains as wonderful as before). Therefore, please ignore this review and this one from the Age, and don’t go there for lunch en masse because if you do I won’t be able to get in ever again (they’re not open at night).