Everyone needs a place like Deko Boko in their lives. If you work in the CBD, that’s probably Purple Peanuts or Brim CC—somewhere you can get amazing Katsu curry, matcha treats and gyoza at a reasonable price, cooked fast and hot and delivered straight to your mouth.
In Richmond, that place is Deko Boko.
This cafe-eatery-kitchen-thing has been around for a while on Bridge Rd, and locals have kept the secret mostly to themselves (soz, guys). It doesn’t look like much from the street, but the insides are speccy: high ceilings, industrial pendant lights, olive green bench seating (very on-trend), elegant mod furniture and cutesy Japanese picture books. Deko Boko could slot straight into Shinjuku and no-one would bat an eye.
The menu is nothing fancy, but everything’s delicious. Start with the gyoza—crispy, juicy and totally addictive, and a steal at $5.50. The chicken Katsu curry is usually a good bet after that. You can even pair up a curry bowl with some donburi for $16.50—maybe some spicy miso chicken or a salmon sashimi don. The pan-fried beef Yakiniku with spicy BBQ sauce is also a deadest winner.
These guys are also known for something else: matcha. You can get matcha lattes (served on wonky handmade ceramics) matcha iced tea, matcha cheesecake (wobbly sponge of the Uncle Tetsu variety), and heaps of matcha desserts. If you’re unsure what matcha tastes like, it tastes like green.
The really nice thing about Deko Boko is the attention they pay to the drinks. This place doesn’t cop out at frosty Asahi—they’ve got an interesting range of Japanese craft beers. Labels you’ve never heard of, like Echigo Koshihikari Rice Lager, Red Miso Lager from Kinshachi, plus some classics like Kirin Ichiban. If plum wine’s your thing, you can grab an Umeshu tasting set for a cheeky $15.
With all Melbourne’s fancy new openings and high-concept themed restaurants, it’s easy to forget how good places like this can be. Deko Boko is happy to let their food (and prices) do the talking. And that’s 100% fine by us.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni