Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Don Tojo

164 Cardigan St, Carlton,VIC 3053

Don Tojo on Urbanspoon
This is a funky place that is reminiscent of the original Don Don on Swanston Street. It's got the same vibe and has all of the original buzz that used to be part of Don Don. Don Tojo is part of the chain and this Carlton branch has got the balance right between cheap student hangout and great delicious food. They also serve a range of alcohol here as well.

The Place
This is a quick meal place where you get to perch on high chairs while you dine, or a small table to share with a few others. It has a great vibe, some interesting murals and is quite fast paced, with funky music in the background. There's also some space outside in the sun. Although it's perfectly fine for kids, the set up is not particularly child friendly. It's more a Uni Student hangout.

Things to do Nearby: Lygon Street is not so far at all, and the Melbourne Museum is a 10 minute walk.

The Food
The food is as good as any Don Don in Melbourne. It's undoubtedly fast food, but is nutritious and tasty. They have a limited range of offerings but what they serve, they do really quite well. You can see how busy the kitchen is and it's great to see efficiency at its best without compromising on taste. In particular, I really like their Teriyaki Chicken Don (pictured below) and their various Bento boxes withe generous servings of fruits.


The Service
Quick and fast friendly service but with minimal interaction. This is pretty much a fast food place but they are always relatively friendly and despite the huge turnover, manage to keep the place generally clean and tidy.

Overall
I do enjoy coming here for a quick cheap yummy meal. It's really affordable and if there's no space to sit, wait for 5 minutes, and a place will free up pretty quickly. Otherwise, you could do takeaway and have it in the gardens.

Cultural Moment
This one is a repeat from the original entry for Don Don - I think it's entirely appropriate and so, here it is again...

Everywhere one goes in Japan, there are small eating places like Don Don where it's more a takeaway place with no more than 5 stools on the side for those who want to eat in quickly. They are known as Shokudo and it's common to see people eating by themselves off their little takeaway boxes, and in a hurry.

Beyond the Family restaurants, Izakaya and Shokudo - there are a range of other types of Japanese eating places - many of which specialise in particular types of dishes - for example Udon vs Ramen vs Okonomiyaki etc. Here's a link to a site that has comprehensive information about different types of Japanese eaiting places - Japan Guide (Restaurants).

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