9 November 2013
Is Donburi is a small popular Japanese restaurant in Northbridge that does dine-in and take-away food. We arrived hungry at 6.30pm and let the waitress know that our group of 5 was waiting. While nobody took down names or issued numbers, we scored seats about 30 minutes later.
The extensive menu covers the usual suspects, like sushi rolls and teriyaki stuff, but also includes some fancy bento boxes and platters. Once we ordered our food, the waitress advised us that our food would take 40 minutes to arrive *sigh*.
Miso soup; Green tea
While we waited for our meals, the waitress brought out miso soup and green tea. Our bento box orders included a watery miso soup, which would usually cost $1.50. We sipped on free green tea during our long wait, but discovered that refills would cost $1.50 per cup. What the hell?!
S-bento Box ($24)
Unsurprisingly, I decided on the unagi (grilled eel) bento box. The eel was meaty and the flavours were good, but there were slimy jelly-like pieces of skin underneath. Unappetising soggy skin is usually a sign that the eel was frozen and not prepared well afterwards. The serving of fresh sashimi was generous, including roughly 5 salmon and 2 tuna pieces. I thought the tempura was a let-down: the batter was too heavy, there’s only one tempura prawn, and the tempura “seasonal vegetables” were sweet potato and a weird squishy piece of fish. The 4 tuna maki (small sushi rolls) were left uneaten because I can’t stomach tinned tuna, and the Asian salad included a small portion of seaweed but was otherwise uninspired.
Soft shell crab ($10)
My friend’s 3 soft shell crab pieces arrived looking like a mound of thick batter, but he found some crab meat inside. The garden salad was unexciting. Ponzu sauce probably saved this entrée from being too disappointing.
Dynamite prawn roll ($15.50)
Another friend ordered the 8 pieces of crumbed prawn sushi roll with avocado, mango, and chilli mayo. She dedicatedly picked off the generous serving of jalapenos and seemed to enjoy her meal.
Chef’s tasting salmon platter ($22)
The salmon platter is pretty gigantic! There were 5 salmon sashimi, 2 salmon sushi nigiri, 2 grilled salmon sushi nigiri, 2 salmon and avocado sushi nigiri, 2 salmon and avocado sushi roll, and 4 salmon maki (small sushi roll) pieces. My friend struggled to finish his meal, but poked off all the fresh salmon to get his money’s worth.
Dinner at Is Donburi will set you back anywhere from $15 to $30 depending on your appetite and order. The serving sizes are generous and the sashimi is fresh, but not everything is as awesomely tasty as it could be. Long wait times and a weird green tea refill policy will probably discourage me from returning anytime soon.
Likes: generous servings, wide choice of dishes, fresh sashimi
Dislikes: slimy skin on eel, $1.50 for green tea refills, mediocre tempura
Value for money: average
Overall: might return for salmon platter, but long wait times are a chore
10/189 William St
(08) 9328 2621