Pepper Lunch, Melbourne
One of the more wacky Japanese chains to make its way down under is Pepper Lunch, a Tokyo-originated “fast-steak” styled restaurant. Now over an impressive twenty years old, with stores all across the world with most of them in Asia.
I’ve walked past this place enough times to garner some curiosity. Diners were eating out of plates with a paper wrap which looked alien. I know now this is due to the dishes being sizzling. They are mix-your-own so you can toss in your own sauces and enjoy the splatters. I’m in two minds, it’s a little fun to do this but you also end up with the smell of Asian food on your clothes.
I’ve made my way to Pepper Lunch on more than a few occasions. The varied menu is pretty good value with most items being around that $10 mark. On my last visit I ordered the ‘hamburger’ and chicken combo along with a side salad of sesame chicken. Don’t ask my why I ordered double chicken, I was in a weird mood that day.
The salad was a bit pedestrian with the dressing being packet-originated. The combination of burger patty with chicken and vegetables was a bit of an odd mix, I guess that’s Tokyo for you. Once delivered toss in your choice of sauces, whirl it all up and give it a good wait before stuffing in your mouth and realising you should have waited that minute longer. This was a decent dish with the method adding a delightful crunchiness if you can time your mixing just right. I do enjoy the sesame mix in sauce too.
On another visit I went for the curious teppan pasta of chicken in cream sauce, which was also served sizzling. Not sure the fusion really made any sense to me, but it’s was an okay pasta that is heavy on the cream. The standard beef pepper rice is my top of the dishes I’ve had here. You can get a lovely char on the meat and rice and the pepperiness is present and enjoyable.