Disco Beans. The two words conjure up images of Mexican jumping beans getting funky to their favourite mariachi band. Or maybe it’s a dance party for vegetarians? On Northcote’s ever-popular High Street, it’s actually a very cool and authentic Japanese cafe/bar/gallery space, the kind you’d find in any major Japanese city hiding in laneways or up several flights of stairs in what seem like residential buildings.
Yuki, the owner, opened Disco Beans to emulate a similar space she ran in Osaka. But you’ll feel more as though you’ve been invited into someone’s lounge room than an actual cafe, especially given Yuki’s hands-on homely approach to hospitality.
Of course, most people’s homes aren’t covered with floor-to-ceiling wallpaper made from brightly coloured Japanese magazine covers, nor do they have quite so many tables and chairs. In fact, most lounge rooms don’t look like a physical manifestation of the vibe of a 1990s rave party.
The inexpensive food is simple, mostly vegetarian (with some vegan dishes) and gluten free, cooked in a Japanese style with love and attention: you get the impression that everything is made from scratch just for your order. There are stews, curries and noodle/rice dishes, and a daily ‘belly plate’ that might be a tofu steak with various salads and grains. The menu changes weekly so repeat visits are a must (the delicious organic hot chocolate alone should see you coming back again and again).
While at this cafe with the super-cute name, there was no sign of a mariachi band, but we certainly saw plenty of happy vegetarians experiencing a party in their mouth where everyone’s invited.
238 High St, Northcote
(03) 9077 4772
Open Wed–Sun 12–3pm & 5.30–9.30pm