Despite there being a vast number of Japanese hawkers and coffee shop stalls in Singapore, Donburi no Tatsujin in Ang Mo Kio was able to capture my attention because of one specific ingredient they offered: wagyu beef. It is rare to come across wagyu beef in humble neighbourhood coffee shops, so I was instantly enticed to pay a visit.
Donburi no Tatsujin brands itself as the first donburi in Singapore to feature alchemy fibre, and is also Halal-certified. The business was founded by Chef Alan Ho, who was a restaurant chef for over 25 years, and Master Chef Masatoshi Ito, who used to be the owner and chef of a ramen shop in Tanjong Pagar.
With a specialty in donburi bowls, Donburi no Tatsujin’s menu offered a range of different rice bowls, including beef, chicken and curry bowls.
What I tried at Donburi no Tatsujin
I started with Donburi no Tatsujin’s Signature Wagyu Flank Donburi (S$18), which was served with a big portion of wagyu beef and an onsen egg.
I have to start off this review by talking about the glorious wagyu flank. The strips of wagyu were tender and easy to chew. They were cooked to a lovely medium rare doneness, and each bite was bursting with a rich and smokey flavour.
The onsen egg was perfectly cooked with a runny and gooey texture. The yolk burst the moment I pierced it with my chopsticks, and flowed all over the soft rice.
The sauce drizzled on the Signature Wagyu Flank Donburi had a strong truffle aroma that could be tasted in every bite. As a huge lover of truffle, I was definitely not disappointed by the strength of the truffle. All in all, the dish was flavourful and satisfying.
Though the Signature Wagyu Flank Donburi was impressive for a coffee shop stall, the price of the bowl was similar to that of restaurant dishes. For S$18, the price was still reasonable, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a steal.
Next, I went for a classic Japanese dish, the Chicken Katsu with Curry Sauce Donburi (S$10). The bowl came filled with white rice, Japanese curry, potatoes, a fried chicken cutlet and pickled radishes.
The chicken katsu had a light batter with a nice crisp, but it had been placed directly on the curry sauce, causing it to become soggy after just a short while. Thankfully, the chicken meat itself was tender and soft.
The curry sauce wasn’t too salty and coated the white rice evenly. It was not spicy at all, but still provided the dish with enough curry fragrance.
I found the rice to be a bit of a let down as it was quite mushy on its own, even without the curry sauce. The stickiness of the rice was amplified further by the curry sauce, making the texture a little bit off-putting for me.
For S$10, Donburi no Tatsujin’s Chicken Katsu with Curry Sauce Donburi was reasonably priced with a generous portion, but in terms of taste, it was rather average and comparable to most other Japanese coffee shop and hawker stalls.
Each donburi also came with a side of either Salad or Salmon Miso Soup.
The Salad contained raw leafy vegetables, cherry tomatoes and a block of tamagoyaki, drizzled with roasted sesame sauce. It was crisp and refreshing, while the tamagoyaki had a soft texture and a nice mild sweetness.
The Salmon Miso Soup, on the other hand, wasn’t too salty and came with tiny bits of salmon meat. The actual salmon taste was quite faint, but the soup was still very palatable.
I had a filling and satisfying meal at Donburi no Tatsujin, and although the dishes didn’t wow me or blow me away, I still found it interesting to be able access restaurant-quality ingredients like wagyu beef in a neighbourhood coffee shop. If I were to return, I’d consider getting the Signature Wagyu Flank Donburi again, though I doubt I’d return just for it.
Expected damage: S$9 – S$19 per pax
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