Mappen, Sydney CBD ♥

Sunday, April 26, 2015

It had to happen at Mappen

Excitement was an understatement with the thought of combining my love of brunch and Japanese cuisine. As the cold weather settles in marking the approach of winter, a bowl of hot noodles is pretty enticing as a first meal of the day. Add a half boiled egg and that constitutes as brunch right?

First of it's kind in Sydney, Mappen is a self service Japanese noodle bar. You line up, get your food, pay, eat and then return your tray - simple. It has a retro Japanese interior with laminated specials all over the windows and heavy wooden tables and chairs spread around for communal eating.

Mappen serves authentic Japanese udon and soba noodles with either tonkatsu, kake or bukkake sauce and a variety of toppings and sides (see menu). The queue for self service usually snakes around outside but being there at opening time saved that wait. 

Green tea slushie $3.30
It's quite an experience as you queue and slowly move down the line... To start, you can choose a drink from the fridge or the specials. They had homemade apple cider ($1.90) or green tea slushie ($3.30), you can really taste the green tea flavour in the slushie.

Grab a black tray and place your order with the cook. You can watch them make your noodles and if requested they crack in a half boiled egg (ontama) or two and get you to move along.

Bukkake ontama mentaiko, regular $6.40
At this stage you can move straight down the line to the cashier but you need to walk past a lineup of deep fried sides that include chicken karaage, prawn and fish tempura, different types of vegetables tempura and pork sausage tempura.

Pumpkin kakiage tempura $2.50
The deep fried sides are described as the naughty food for younger people and I was told this pumpkin kakiage tempura is a popular choice. Crunchy and flavoursome, it was a great addition to my noodles.

Takoyaki $3.00
Other sides included dumplings, potato salad, vegetable skewers and takoyaki. If you were able to resist these, the next temptation is the assorted toppings and desserts.

One spoonful per person only!
At the end of the line, you can help yourself to free tempura sauce and a spoonful (only one!) of chopped shallot and tempura flakes.

Bukkake ontama mentaiko, regular $6.40 + toppings $1.80
This whole exercise created some pretty looking dishes. I had the udon noodles with bukkake, half boiled egg and chilli cod roe butter plus some wakame and white radish toppings. The bukkake soup is a bit thicker and flavoursome.

Mt. Beef Soba, large $11.40 + toppings $1.80
A current special is the Mt. Beef Soba. Yes, it is a mountain of tasty stewed beef on soba noodles which you can drown with dipping sauce. The extra topping of corn added a nice texture and the pickled cabbage even more flavour.

Washoku lovers members set $9.90
If you don't want all the fuss of self sevice, you could skip all of this and get this mini kake udon, ontama bukkake soba, japanese curry, salad and a drink for $9.90 with your free Washoku lovers membership.

White daifuku (sticky rice cake) $1.50
The self service concept keeps prices low so you can keep it simple and cheap or pile up with sides and toppings for a litle bit extra. The standard price of $3.90 is actually a way of the owner saying thank you for visiting. If you say 3 (san) and 9 (kyu), it sounds like "Thank you" with an accent - true fact!

Dined as guests of Mappen and Washoku Lovers with the lovely Yuri as host.

In a nutshell 

Food ●●
Service ●

Price $

From 11.30am, everyday 
Authentic Japanese
Friendly, fast food
Regular noodle kake or bukkake $3.90
Cool retro Japanese, really busy at peak times. 
Menya Mappen - 11/537-551 George St, Sydney

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