The Don-o-Meter

4 Comments 12 September 2011

It is sometime just after midday in Melbourne’s mystical city. Office workers are pouring out of the buildings with one thing on their mind: lunch. It just so happens that I very much have the same idea and one little joint is my destination. It’s called Don-Don (don is an abbreviation in Japanese for donburi meaning ‘rice bowl’) and it is my ultimate food-craving pilgrimage.

Not much more than a little window across the road from the State Library, it would be easy to walk right past it without noticing anything special inside, so I can’t thank my friend Mr. Rendevski enough for pointing it out and forcing me to enter.

I practically leap off the Swanston Street tram and bolt down the sidewalk, weaving through rushing crowds, such is my desire for the don. Unfortunately many others have beaten me to it, and the queue stacks up right outside the shop front. But remarkably, the line diminishes within moments, the cooks behind the counter chopping ingredients and serving food faster than Usain Bolt. So I find myself at the front of the line and the pressure quickly mounts on my shoulders. They only have a small menu but I’m struggling to make decisions, finally resolving to order the ‘curry tofu don’. Glimpsing into the kitchen I witness sheer madness, the old man (master of the don) who has been running this place for a good while shouting orders at his crew to go even faster than their already unbelievable pace.

It is as though the cooks and waiters have some sort of telepathic connection at Don-Don. I’m very certain the woman who served me did not even turn around to place my order. As I scramble out of the way of the ever-pressing queue the woman yells me back to the counter to pick up my food. My face must express a mixture of surprise and joy like a contestant on a Japanese game show – it has been no longer than 7 seconds! This place serves you faster than a sushi bar serves sushi, or a fast-food chain serves cheeseburgers, and they manage to cook to order, somehow.

I’ve been going on about the speed, but the actual food does not disappoint in the slightest. The tofu is fresh and moist and the curry is superb, a classic Japanese fast-food, all for an amazing price (for Melbourne) of well under 10 bucks – affordable for the teenage wallet.

No trip to the city for me is complete without a quick visit to Don-Don to pack in a delicious box of goodness. It meets all the criteria of the perfect youth food trip – cheap, fast, delicious and best of all, not corporate or utterly lacking in soul. I can’t help myself from comparing any visit to other food joints to Don-Don. I present to you here above my restaurant reviewing-brainchild: the Don-O-Meter. Any food place I review in the future will be pitted against the Don-Don benchmark.

(03) 9662 3377
321 Swanston St (also 5 Bank St, South Melbourne and Dontoo – Shop 6, 340 Little Lonsdale St)
Melbourne, 3000
Open breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week.

In the comments section, any suggestions on places that could challenge the prowess of Don-Don are welcome.

Don Don on Urbanspoon

Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Hugh Davies says:

    Very good review Charlie!

  2. Shaad D'Souza says:

    The Soba Salad is like, worth its weight in gold.

    Ace article.

  3. Jehovah says:

    good one

  4. Charles Lempriere says:

    For some very odd reason I have never ordered the Soba Salad. That will change, very soon.

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About the Author

This post was written by who has written 24 posts on The Signal Express.

Hello, I am Mr Charles Lempriere, established 15 years ago in the town of Melbourne. Currently occupied in school and dog walking, its a relatively comfy life round my way. I enjoy switching lamps on and off (but not continuously or simultaneously as that would be wasting power), spending long periods listening to AM radio and taking well-earned day time naps. It is a dream of mine to hold both the Tetris and Vietnamese soup eating world records at the same time, while maintaining some form of clean skin. One day I would like to take residence in the mountains of Bhutan with the Layap people and their yaks. An honourable mention to the Scott Pilgrim series for being the best thing ever, So Yeah!

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