Donburi & BBQ is a small restaurant/stall situated in the ground floor food court of the Paramount building, near the corner or Exhibition and Bourke Street, Melbourne. The restaurant serves Korean and Japanese focussed food.
Although it is technically a food court outlet, don’t let its appearance fool you. The food is of a reasonable quality, and is very competitively priced.
We did not try the ‘made to order’ dishes, but would expect that they would be of a similar quality to most ‘average’ Japanese and Korean take-away outlets.
What makes Donburi & BBQ stand out is its bain-marie self serve take away plate. Think of it as a ‘buffet on a plate’. It is extreme value at $8.90 for a self serve plate – that is, you can fill your plate once with whatever you like for $8.90, but no refilling.
Having personally tried many sub-par and ordinary food court meals over the years (both in Australia and abroad), it is reasonable to seem sceptical about this concept. However, the quality of the food should make it a memorable meal.
The buffet is broad enough so that you can choose a variety of (mainly Korean) snacks, rice, vegetables, fried chicken and meat dishes. The picture below outlines what is on offer, including classics like ‘Korean fried chicken’, bulgogi (marinated sizzling beef), spicy pork and kimchi fried rice.
The plate that we put together is below. Please take a look and we will explain it in more detail.
We chose to have a base of fried chicken (spicy wings and honey soy fillet pieces) and then on top of that stack kimchi rice, fresh vegetables (without sauce), bulgogi, spicy pork and spring rolls.
The plate overall was fantastic, when you consider that this was ordered from a food court restaurant. The fried chicken was crispy and had a good texture on the inside – better than fast food and rivalling some of the top Korean fried chicken restaurants in Melbourne. The vegetables were also a pleasant surprise, fresh and full of flavour – we really enjoyed that they were not heavily sauced (which is usually a tactic to hide bad quality produce!). The bulgogi, spicy pork and spring rolls topped off the dish – they weren’t the best versions of those dishes that we have tasted, but were definitely passable.
Donburi & BBQ is unlikely to be the best dining experience that you ever have. However, that is no problem – there are plenty of other restaurants to serve that purpose. On the other hand, if you are looking for a decent quality lunch, at a reasonable cost, then Donburi & BBQ should be towards the top of your list!
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