Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review - Don Too

19 January 2012

Don Too
330 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Cuisine: Japanese

DonToo on Urbanspoon

The food is served very quickly here. You order, pay and pick up your food at the counter. Usually, before you can put your change away, the food has appeared at one end of the counter, ready for you to pick up. Most of the menu items are ready-cooked and able to be quickly plated by the staff in the tiny kitchen. 

Don Too has two adjoining tiny dining rooms, with tables close together.  The name at the door says Don Too. The menu says Don Don. It hints to a connection between Don Too and the other Don Don restaurants in Melbourne. Don Too doesn't take bookings. It is very popular with office workers in the area. At lunch times there is usually a long, but fast moving, queue to order. Takeaways are as popular as dine-ins, which is understandable given there is limited seating.

We arrived at lunch time and managed to get a table for three; this was made possible by having one person scout for a table and then sit at the table, while the others order at the counter, othewise we might be stuck with food and no table!

The menu is a simple one page with 11 main items. We ordered the Don Don Box, Chicken Curry Don and Beef Curry Don. The Don Don Box is certainly value for money - a large bento box containing a generous serve of teriyaki chicken, sukiyaki beef, rice and salad of vegetables and fruits; the fruit varies depending on their supplies for that day. "Don" is abbreviated from "Donburi",  which is Japanese for "bowl".  The Chicken Curry Don came in a bowl and consisted of teriyaki chicken on rice, sitting like an island with a mild curry gravy to one side of the bowl. This is considerate as it enables you to mix in as much, or as little, gravy as you like, rather than the whole lot being innundated with gravy on top.  I like the chicken teriyaki in the Don Don Box and the Chicken Curry Don; it was presumably pan-fried, with a nice grilled texture on the outside and randomly coated with a thick, slightly sweet, soy-based sauce. The Beef Curry Don was sukiyaki beef and rice, with mild curry gravy to one side of the bowl, like the Chicken Curry Don arrangement. I had eaten the beef sukiyaki before and been happy with it. However, the sliced beef today had large slices of fat. Some diners do like a large amount of fat with their beef. I prefer not to have to trim off large pieces of fat from my sukiyaki beef before I can eat it. Japanese curry is mild, unlike the hotter, spicer curries from Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, or South Asian countries like India and Sri Lanka.

The cutlery provided for both takeaways and dine-in is plastic. Plastic cutlery is awkward to use; this is unnavoidable for takeaways but it would be nice to have proper cutlery for the table. Despite being a cheap place to eat, the place looks clean and has an agreeable darkened atmosphere with rustic solid wooden tables and chairs, and not the garish lighting and cheap furniture of other budget eateries.

Overall, I was happy with the food and dining experience.

Taste Rating: 6.5/10   Value Rating: 7.5/10

Don Don Box

Chicken Curry Don

Beef Curry Don

Don Don Box, Chicken Curry Don, Beef Curry Don

Don Too Menu



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