My friend Prez and I grabbed a quick dinner at Is Donburi recently. Just a couple of months old, it’s one of Northbridge’s newest Japanese restaurants, next to William Street favourite Jus Burgers.
Menus and complimentary cups of green tea were delivered to us with a smile. For a small restaurant, the menu is surprisingly extensive and we had to ask our waiter to give us a little more time to decide. There’s a whole page devoted to entrees that include agedashi tofu, tuna or beef tataki, chicken karaage and soft shell crab. There’s sushi and sashimi, teriyaki, udon, value meals and bento box specials, and of course, donburi. If you like your food fiery, most items can be ordered in “spicy flavour”. My hunger grew mightier the more I scanned the menu and I kept changing my mind until I spotted the miso chicken katsu don (AU$13.80 – also available in pork or fish) – deep fried panko-crumbed chicken katsu with egg and misonaise on rice. Yes, misonaise!
Miso’s one of those magic ingredients that can really enhance a dish (other magic ingredients include bacon, butter and garlic). At first glance you might miss that brown, almost translucent sauce on the craggy, crunchy katsu. Is misonaise better than Kewpie mayonnaise or tonkatsu sauce? I haven’t eaten enough of it to decide, but oh, it was special – I reckon it would be superb in a burger and great for dipping fries into. Under the katsu was egg cooked with batons of carrots and capsicum. It was a deluxe donburi I haven’t stopped thinking about since.
Speaking of magical miso, if you’re in Sydney and like salty-sweet, don’t miss the miso caramel milkshake at The Milk Bar by Cafe Ish in Redfern.
Unagi fan Prez chose the unagi chirashi don (AU$15.50) – grilled teriyaki eel with egg, rice, salad and miso soup – and was thrilled with the bright and bountiful bowl placed before her.
Our meals were fantastic value. The servings were generous, and everything tasted so fresh. Friends who’ve eaten at Is Donburi have also raved about the ample servings of tasty food. We were absolutely stuffed when we were done. I barely touched my side salad – my miso chicken katsu and rice were in a bowl of perfection and I didn’t need anything else.
There’s a display of takeaway sushi at the front of the restaurant, including a unique creation: fried spring roll sushi rolls.
For the price of a fancy sushi roll prepared and blow-torched in front of you at Aisuru Sushi diagonally opposite on William Street, Is Donburi delivers dinner in a bowl of plenty (actually, several bowls). Each restaurant has its place, catering to different budgets and feeding different desires on different days; it’s great to have the choice.
Northbridge workers and dwellers, I am envious! Is Donburi: Is worth checking out.
10/189 William Street
Northbridge WA 6003
Telephone: (08) 9328 2621
Open daily 11.30am to 9.30pm
Australian readers, don’t forget to enter for your chance to win one of two Cuisinart 1.5L ice cream makers. Closes 9pm WST (Perth time) on Wednesday, 12 December 2012.