Savour bliss in a bowl at Rosalie’s charming Japanese eatery Uncle Don
Japan has gifted the world an incredible array of culinary marvels – sushi, shabu shabu, yakitori, udon, the list goes on. Perhaps one of the most versatile staples of Japanese cuisine is donburi, a deceptively simple rice-bowl dish that is being given a gourmet overhaul at Rosalie newcomer Uncle Don.
Donburi is an exercise in tasteful simplicity. At its core, the meal is comprised of a bowl (or ‘don’) of steamed white rice, which has been crowned with an assortment of toppings – sometimes grilled eel or breaded pork, other times a simple omelette or slow-simmered beef and onions. While undoubtedly a top-tier option when seeking something hearty, filling and cheap, donburi is also a dish that can be enhanced by an epicurean glow-up. This is the core conceit of Uncle Don, a warm and welcoming eatery located in the heart of Rosalie’s Nash Street hub. Uncle Don’s proprietor, Brian Lee, has spent much of his hospitality career furthering the good word of Japanese cuisine via his fast-casual conveyor-belt restaurant brand On A Roll Sushi, but has more recently fostered a burning desire to open the best donburi specialist in Brisbane. To do this, Brian and his team (which boasts chefs with fine-dining experience) spent several months perfecting a menu that blends traditional tastes with modern techniques and house-made ingredients often reserved for more upscale dining experiences. What results is a range of donburi that sits several notches above the norm, elevating the dish to levels typically unseen in Brisbane.
Although primarily focused on donburi, the menu starts with an appetite-whetting selection of starters, including pork katsu sandos, baked cauliflower with miso chickpea cream, Japanese meatballs with potato salad and house-made burnt eggplant dip with lotus chips. The don selection is divided by protein, mixing novel flavour combinations with traditional options. Seafood dons include the likes of tuna tataki bowls with shisho leaf and soy-cured yolk and grilled freshwater eel with scrambled free-range egg, while the chicken category includes char-grilled chicken with teriyaki butter, and karaage chicken with sweet-and-sour glaze and Japanese tartar sauce. Carnivores will be hard-pressed to ignore the wagyu steak don, which places charcoal-grilled wagyu (with a marble score of seven plus) on a bed of rice alongside a soft-cooked free-range egg, shallots and chilli threads. Pork lovers can savour a Japanese pork bolognese don, while vegetarians can tuck into a tofu on tofu don (fried tofu with tofu cream and gyoza skin furikake) or a shiitake mushroom don with ginger yuzu. Each don is served with a bowl of miso soup and a small helping of pickles, while sides like charred broccolini, Japanese curry and onsen tomago (low-temp cooked free-range egg) can help fill any gaps. Uncle Don’s beverage menu is also finely considered, with a range of hot teas, Japanese soft drinks, tap beer (Asahi and Yamato), Japanese bottled beers (Kirin, Suntory, Dai Dai Ale IPA and Kyoto Beer matcha IPA), Japanese fruit wine (plum, yuzu and peach) and a clutch of sakes offering plenty of material for thirst-quenching quaffing.
Uncle Don is open to the public. More locations are in the works, but you can get all the details on this one right now in the Stumble Guide.
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