In William St. Arcade Northbridge, a change has swept the place making it home to the likes of Love Ty Neighbor, Superstar Waffles, and now, IS Donburi. All of which has promising names and a superb feel of culture of them. My previous visits to Superstar Waffles have made me mostly happy although, inconsistency are starting to be appear more obvious with the poor handling of crowds. Its inability to cater for a wider demographics such as a gluten free society also reduces its marks. So how does the new IS Donburi do when it comes to food? Earlier this week, the boys and I had lunch there where we ordered:
Chicken Katsu Don (Spicy) @ $12.50 was bliss with a decent serve of deep fried good night set on an omellete egg cooked with onions and soy. It was faultless and felt like a decent home-cooked meal but just extremely crunchy on all corners. The spiciness for me was just spot on. Its not like you get a spicy battered chicken but the chefs at ID just managed to squeeze in the heat unnoticeably.
Fish Teriyaki Donburi @ $12.50 was Andrews choice. These deep fried goodness coated with Teriyaki Sauce was a pleaser as Andrew felt no fault with it. The fish came in three types which were the salmon, king fish and basa. For me, that is a brilliant spread of protein despite being all fish. Its healthier for sure. Andrew found it delicious, but for me, a little on the sweet side.
Kimchee Udon @ $12.50 was Win’s choice but a tragic event it was. This was by far the worst I have seen. To sum this pot, it’s a $12.50 bowl of carbs with Kimchee and a few slices of crab sticks which were incorrectly called fishcakes on the menu. For me, there had to be a better deal than this. Maybe more meat, a thicker broth or even some pork belly which would make it more Kimchee Chigae-ish? All of which on a Monday afternoon did not really please my buddy Win. I would not be very pleased either.
Other than what we ordered, I called a sushi to share with the guys for $3 bucks! That was a steal. Rarely do we find $3 rolls anywhere. But when spicy pork roll is filled with Korean style spicy pork, my mind was on a rewind back to when I first walked in. The chef, the waitresses. Hey its all Korean? Ok not sure whether was it just me or what. But that in no way matters as anyone can cook any food. That has always been my belief and I standby it.
So, in the end really it was all about IS Donburi and for a lunch place, I find the price – quality balance plausible. But for me, my tummy was not on an overdrive of hunger. If I had came here for dinner, I could easily rake up $30+ on my bill, and I would definitely think twice. Places like IS Donburi falls into my category of dilemma where a middle quality restaurant charges me for middle quality food. For little more than $40 comes the set menu at Bonsai and other places like Halu, Satsuki, Izakaya Sakura will only need $50+. Cheaper yet extremely bitchy place like Kanta @Langford charges $20-30 for an awesome meal.
This sort of things makes places like IS Donburi extremely unattractive. For me, it has certainly priced itself out of the market. I would go to Tan PoPo or Taka for one cheap meal and a damn good one elsewhere like Bonsai, Ha-Lu, Satsuki and what not. This really to me feels like a no brainer. Such concept also extends to my steak meals where there is no way I would pay for two $40 dollar meal at Hog’s Breath anymore. Instead a home cooked steak and a meal at Rockpool. Sorry IS Donburi. You are only lunch material.