On the corner of Elgin Street and Drummond street, in the heart of Carlton’s cafe district, sits a small, comfortable, bright little cafe called Ima.
Inside this little cafe, is a Japanese inspired setting.
A pinewood bar, with white shades, rolled to the top looks like it was discovered in a food vendors street in Tokyo and transported to this Melbourne eatery. The counter is stocked, meticulously and symmetrically with beverages, seasonings, teas and other assorted items. And behind it are the staff. Their friendly smiles, their friendly gestures, their Ima service.
The menu in this charming gem on the corner of Elgin Street and Drummond is a fusion of sorts. Ugly Vegetables are an inspiration for a lot of the dishes. Those greeny weird looking things we walk by in supermarkets have found a new life and new tastes here.
The menu is filled with incredible choices, made with seasonal ingredients, passionate hands, and crafted into Japanese dishes that will warm your soul, cool your stomach, or fill you just right.
There’s a certain whimsy at Ima. There’s a playfulness, an innocence from owner to staff, from chef to plate, from plate to patron. It’s a shared emotion that you cannot help but feel when sitting down.
Cat ornaments, pickled vegetables, bags of tea, paintings by local artist Kat Chadwick, just some of those characteristics that make Ima, Ima. The coffee here is pretty damn good, too. In fact, it probably could be up there as one of Carlton’s finest. But we’ll leave that up to you.
The menu at Ima seems to always be inspired.
On a cold day the red miso tomato sugo, on a breezy lunch, an avocado toast with nori paste, kale and furikake. On a Friday, the tsukune sandwich. A been curry or soba-noodle salad. Really it’s a menu worth trying, and definitely worth exploring.
On the corner of Elgin Street and Drummond sits a cafe, and we sit at their table and enjoy their food, drink their coffee and smile. You should too.
169 Elgin St, Carlton VIC3053
03 9348 1118
- Weekdays: 7.30-3.00
- Weekends: 8.00-3.00
- Tuesday closed
- (Kitchen closes at 2.15)