Neko Neko, Fitzroy
Neko Neko is a Japanese word that means cat. It's an unusual name for a Japanese restaurant, but it comes from co-owner Saori Kawasaki's love of cats and cats' love of fish.
In 2016, Saori and her husband Tomoya Kawasaki opened the pescatarian/vegan eatery. They've opened three more restaurants after migrating to Melbourne from Tokyo, including Wabi Sabi in Collingwood and St Kilda, and Yoku Ono in Prahran.
Their fourth location focuses on takeout. There are many window chairs and an interesting triangular table with an open center if you prefer to stay in the charming space.
The cuisine is straightforward and concise, with a focus on healthy ingredients. Vegan ramen is created with a 20-ingredient vegetable stock and egg-free “egg noodles,” according to Saori's original recipe.
Instead of eggs, cashew cream is used to bind the vegan okonomiyaki (derived from okonomi, which means what you like, and yaki, which means grilled). A vegan dengaku nasu miso eggplant and macadamia sushi replaces the customary kewpie mayo topping.
Purple rice, produced with a mix of black and brown rice, quinoa, and other grains, is used in a display fridge to store a variety of bento boxes and sushi that immediately catch the eye. Lunch options include Japanese baguettes stuffed with teriyaki salmon or vegan croquettes.
Mon - Fri 12 PM - 3 PM & 5 PM - 9 PM, Sat 12 PM - 9 PM
83A Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia