Murasaki is a quiet, unassuming, Japanese outfit with two sites – a restaurant on Dyke Road and a takeaway on Montpelier Place. I’ve made no bones about my love of Pompoko. It’s cheap and dirty and I will always hold a special place for it in my heart. However, they need to step aside now.
Montpelier Place is that random little strip of shops between Upper North Street and Lansdowne Road. I’ve walked and driven past it so many times and never really thought to stop. Murasaki Bento has always had people sitting in the window everytime I’ve passed and it occurred to me that, living in Hove, I can potentially still have a ‘pompoko’. We used to live on Sydney Street so Pompoko was always my go-to for hangovers and lazy dinners.
Murasaki Bento offers sushi, tempura, rice dishes, noodle dishes, bento boxes and much more. Their menu is quite extensive (way more choice than Pompoko) and it’s made to order – we waited about 25 minutes so might be best to order ahead or you can order it for delivery.
On a sunny Sunday evening we bit the bullet and strolled along from Brunswick to select our wares. We opted for chicken katsu, chilli karaage don and tempura with king prawns.
Tempura – we ordered the king prawn version (£6.25) which had four king prawns, asparagus, courgette, mushroom and squash so 8 pieces in total. The vegetables were a nice addition to the king prawns and gave it a bit of variety – the squash in particular was really good. The king prawns were just that – nice big juicy king prawns, light and crispy tempura batter, perfectly cooked to still be nice and succulent. The cook to order was definitely evident here. They came with a sweet chilli dip which tasted on the homemade side rather than from a bottle. I think, for £6.25, this is really good value. In an ideal world, we would have liked two more prawns for this price.
Chilli karaage don with chicken – at £6.45 this massive portion was such good value. The chicken was southern fried style and from cuts other than just the breast so it was really succulent and flavoursome. A really good variety of vegetables and generous portion of well cooked rice. My only criticism was that the sauce wasn’t quite to my liking when on the vegetables and rice but when coated on the chicken it was really nice. Heat was tolerable – not too much chilli.
Chicken katsu – £6.75 This was, undoubtedly, the star of the show. Lovely, fresh chicken breast, coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Again, a generous helping of well cooked rice and a very generous dousing of sauce. Can’t fault it in anyway.
I worked out that the dishes were only a few pounds more expensive than Pompoko’s. When comparing them like-for-like, Murasaki bento shits them out the water. For the additional £5.55 the quality drastically improves and, whilst I will never not love Pompoko like a familiar old friend, Murasaki is the one. They also take card payments!
The staff were really friendly and chatty whilst preparing the food, they offered to take my number and give me a call when it was ready to save hanging around but we enjoyed sitting outside in the late evening sunshine.
Have you tried Murasaki? What else do you recommend? I really want to try the restaurant and go for the sushi next time.
the wee food blogger 💛