$18 at Kilo at PACT
Kilo Orchard’s meals-in-a-bowl come with proteins like pork belly, roasted veggies, prawn tempura and beef short rib, but the standout comes topped with a slab of grilled-yet-juicy salmon. Pick a base of quinoa, sushi or brown rice, and work your way through the crunchy kernels of raw sweet corn, pickled shimeiji, blanched bean sprouts and a creamy slice of avocado. Healthy, without tasting too green.
$9.80 at Bazuka Yakibuta
Chef Jeremy Nguee’s char siew and siew yoke hide many secrets, like the spice blend that lends honeyed notes to his caramelised pork, or the super tender meat that ends in a layer of almost-deafening crunch in his roast slab. The takeaway bowl comes with slightly dry Kokuho short-grained rice, swirls of carrot and cucumber pickles and a liberal scoop of shallot and hae bi chilli. The chorus of ‘Bazuka!’ that washes over you after you order adds extra oomph to the experience.
$14.80 at Tanuki Raw
Hunks of marbled Black Angus short rib bob about in a sous vide bath before they’re seared in a flash for colour and sliced for Tanuki’s beef rice bowl. Besides the wobbly 63ºC egg and gleaming slices of red meat catching your attention at first sight, this one travels with its own heady perfume of truffle oil, mixed into a shoyu sauce and poured over the meat. Get really up close to the bowl and breathe in.
$28 at Sushi Jin
At this Farrer Park casual-cool, the tuna don trumps the competition. Ex-Fat Cow chef Raymond Tan steams Niigata rice with shiitake mushroom to add umami depth to the garnet-hued slices of tuna loin. And the sprinkling of tempura crumbs is the touch of genius that adds crunch and just enough fried food flavour to enhance, not overpower, the fish.
$28 at Babette
In this Asian answer to the sinful Tournedos Rossini, Babette sources for a beautifully marbled cut of Australian grass-fed beef and tops his stack of Niigata rice and steak slices with a sinful lobe of foie gras. Two-day-pickled carrots, cucumber and radish reset the palate between indulgent mouthfuls, keeping each bite interesting.
$13.90 at Comnam Broken Rice
Vietnamese rice bowl specialist, Comnam, hides a secret in its rice. Tossed between crumbly broken grains are little slivers of chicken feet skin, which lend even more texture to the bowl’s carbohydrate base. The battered and fried softshell crab and squid bowl is also a meal-in-one, with pickled radish, meat-spiked omelette and prawn cakes completing the offering.