This south side restaurant can be hard to find, but it's worth searching out
By Cory Schachtel | June 8, 2023
After first hearing about Feng Donburi, a Japanese restaurant in Ambleside that opened this past May, I thought, oh good, the super south-side food scene is expanding with something that isn’t fast food. The neighbourhood’s built, but new enough that my phone directs me to an open lot behind the restaurant, so it’ll probably take them some time to get rolling. Maybe we can give some early exposure.
Then, when I order pickup and am told it will take an hour and a half, I think, oh, they’re probably understaffed and overwhelmed. I hope they can tough it out long enough to last.
When I arrive, I realize I am way off, and this review might be too late.
The place is packed. And far from being understaffed, I count six non-chefs behind the till, all wearing black, all very busy. My order is ready with a smile, and I leave with my meal thinking I don’t know the south-side food scene as well as I thought I did.
Unsurprisingly, my meal is great. The Salmon Lover Bowl is light and fresh, I scarf down the Gyoza (for me, a requisite order at any place that has them) and the rolls are dynamite (couldn’t resist). The stand out appetizer is the Baked Mussels covered in spicy miso sauce. They are more savoury than spicy, which is perfect — we’ll definitely get two orders next time.
The main course is Chicken Yaki Udon, which represents the Udon Noodle menu well in the sense that it’s a safe choice done well. Aside from the Takoyaki Poutine, there aren’t any crazy fusion experiments on the menu, just meals made from simple, minimal ingredients. I chew the tender chicken and slurp up the noodles, then tip the bowl up to my face to drink the broth like a kid guzzling leftover milk from salty cereal.
Based on early indicators, Feng Donburi is off to a strong start, and probably doesn’t need our help. But we’re here to help your tastebuds too, so the next time you bring them south side, treat them to some great Japanese food.