Whenever I feel like ridiculously cheap and hideously fast Japanese food, I always head to Don Don, opposite QV. I’ve been going there for about five years, so I was surprised when I realised that I never actually reviewed the place. Since I was there on Thursday for lunch, I figured that now would be a good time to actually review the place. Not that any of you need to read about it because every man and their dog has been to Don Don, but for the sake of completeness here goes…
It was after 2pm when Adam and I strolled into the tiny so-very-easy-to-miss cafe but check out the size of the queue! Normally, a queue that big at any other cafe would turn punters away but regulars would know that Don Don is on par with Toyota Motors’ production values – use only good quality ingredients, implement an effective assembly line with only the right number of people required and keep things running, running, running. Heck, despite the queue, I still managed to get served and get my food within the minute. How’s that for service?
Adam’s sukiyaki don, which is basically beef in sweet soy sauce and rice ($6). Not the biggest bowl on earth but for $6, who can complain? Not only was it beautifully sweet and fresh, it certainly filled him up. I probably would have wanted the beef to be less dry but like I said, it was only $6.
My sashi don ($8.30). My dish was probably the most expensive single dish on the menu which says a lot about how cheap this place really is. It came in a bigger bowl which was filled with a generous amount of white rice. The variety of vegies (sliced sweetened beancurd), pickled ginger, tamagoyaki (yellow egg omelette), pickled cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, rocket leaves (!!) were a great supporting cast to the centrepiece, the rosette of fresh salmon sashimi and tofu triangle drizzled in a peanut-soy sauce. Although I will admit that the hotter dishes are tastier, the sashi don is a great stomach filler for those who want something lighter and healthier (that and the soba salad which, from memory, is $7.40).
I would highly recommend this place if you’re at the state library or RMIT and needing a quick 10 minute fix before you need to head back to your books. Of the 10 things on the menu, I’d probably recommend the curry dishes but hey, the other dishes are more than alright too. And the good news is that, unlike surrounding Japanese cafes/restaurants, Don Don do not down their food in excessive MSG!