One bowl of don here is a wavy, egg-covered dome. The outer egg sheet folds to reveal a cluster of grilled eel slices, okra, shiso leaves and onion-and-dashi rice. Another has perfectly tender slow-cooked pork katsu next to roast tomatoes and another sheet of egg, this time encasing soy, sake and mirin flavoured rice. Owner and chef Anna Ishiguro likes things to look prettier than the average don bowl.
The teas, all provided by premium Asian tea importer [Zensation] (https://www.broadsheet.com.au/sydney/cafes/zensation-tea-house), are matched to each bowl. With a Hainanese-chicken-inspired don with lemongrass-and-ginger rice you’ll be drinking a tannin-heavy, buttery and clean oolong. Garlic-butter rice layered with slow-cooked slices of Wagyu and crispy lotus root has a suggested pairing of a golden, smoky Jin Jun Mei. The dinner menu matches the Japanese sake, beer and wine offering.
Everything here is beautiful. The Hanakessho-style teacups shimmer like shattered jewels, and the left wall is plastered in Japanese wallpaper showing a soft blue and grey bamboo forest scene. The fit-out mixes clean polished concrete and timber and includes a custom-built, ornate bar that overlooks the tiny kitchen. Its look is European-Japanese fusion; there are lanterns, and curtains with calligraphy. Ishiguro designed the place herself, after leaving a career as a graphic designer.