Saturday, October 22

Don Tojo (and Don Don)

I remember the first time I discovered Don Don (next to Melbourne Central). A store with signage that was barely noticeable, yet the store was popular and bustling. The inside heating was reassuringly warm as I queued for a dine in meal, and the food appeared faster than fast food. Plus it was cheap. Oh, how I love cheap meals. I just noticed, there has been quite a number of Japanese-styled cafes already!

Don Tojo serves exactly the same menu as Don Don (hence I will just write one post for both), but is a more recently opened branch in Carlton - a few minutes from Melbourne University. The seating area is definitely a lot more comfortable and spacious, plus Don Tojo is also serves alcohol and offers good prices for beer - so says the reviews, I wouldn't know.


- Don Tojo is located at 164 Cardigan St, Carlton (see map)

- Don Don is at 321 Swanston St, Melbourne (see map)


- The urbanspoon reviews for Don Tojo (not many), and a Weekendnote review.

- Or, for way more blog reviews, pictures etc, Don Don at urbanspoon.

Price: $6.50 to $8.90 (see menu below)


Rice - which comes with all meals, after all the places are called don something. And donburi, or don refers to rice bowl dishes, where a dish is served over rice.

Beef sukiyaki (dondon box dish 1) - "beef slices in a sake soy sauce", caramelised onions, and sprinkled with bright coloured pickles. It's nice, tasty, sweetish. It's hard to get sukiyaki wrong.

Teriyaki chicken (dondon box dish 2) - "pan grilled soy chicken". This photo isn't great, but the sauce really was blackish from the burnt parts of the grilled chicken. Slightly charred is okay, but a strong burnt taste makes me think carcinogens. Sauce was also too salty.

Salad (dondon box dish 3) - the dondon box we ordered came with rice, the teriyaki chicken, sukiyaki beef, and this salad. Great value! Usually these would come in one bento box, but I ordered takeaway today. Salad, or really, the fruits, were pleasant. A piece of tofu, cucumber, apple and orange.

Sashi don - "salmon/ocean trout sashimi on rice", with pickles, marinated dried shitake, salad and tofu. Tasty and refreshing. A short lesson on fish. I've always been confused on the difference between salmon vs ocean trout. My sources say that both are part of the salmonidae family, and either can be served raw or cooked. The texture and taste is supposed to be different. I might take a guess and call today's raw fish trout, because it was mild rather than the creamy salmon taste. And the sources say that the difference between the rainbow trout I often buy whole in the local supermarkets, and ocean trout, is that ocean trouts are reared in saltwater.

Other: Don Tojo/Don Don would have to be one of the well presented takeaway meals I've had in recent times. For both dishes, rice was packed separately with sprinkles of seaweed. The sashimi and salad was reassuringly cold, whilst the rice and meats were hot (food poisoning prevention). The two meats were also packaged separately in small containers, and that meant the tastes weren't mixed up or soaking through the rice. Unfortunately not great for the environment with all the plastic containers though!

Also, this meal is a lighter, healthier option compared to some of the greasy (but tasty) Asian cafes nearby.

Rating: 4/5 I'm a big fan of both branches. A no frills, limited menu. But a perfect student meal with filling, well presented, healthy and value for money meal. Only problem I have is that there's several items on the limited menu that I've tried and wouldn't order again - the burnt teriyaki chicken, some of the curry dons (eg. the chicken curry seems to be the same meat as the teriyaki chicken in a big bowl of Japanese curry sauce).

Don Don on UrbanspoonDon Tojo on Urbanspoon

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