I remember stumbling across Mappen when it first opened several years ago and was pleasantly delighted. Mappen is a Japanese udon/soba speciality restaurant that charges for only what you choose. It lets you create your own meal by selecting a noodle base with assorted toppings – a great and practical DIY concept!
The ordering is simple:
1. Choose your noodle base. There are many choices including udon/soba, dry/soup-based, +egg, +lemon and so on
2. Select your toppings – you only pay for what you select
3. Add optional side dishes, drinks and sauce
4. Top with a sprinkle of tempura batter and/or chopped shallots (free at the counter)
Ontama Bukkake, medium (udon noodles with tsukedashi sauce, soft boiled egg and lemon wedge) – $4.90
Fish Cake Tempura – $1.90
Chicken Tempura – $1.80
Takoyaki – $2.00
Today I am opting for a medium sized, cold udon with egg and lemon as my base. The egg is soft boiled and I stir this through the noodles, along with lemon juice. The udon’s sweet soy broth absorbs the juice and is quite refreshing on a warm night. The udon noodles become coated with the yolk and I find this combination quite interesting and tasty.
The toppings I get are all fried in some sort of manner. This includes a large piece of sweet potato, chicken, crab stick and three takoyaki balls. I find the tempura is very crunchy and generous in size. It goes well with the complimentary tempura dipping sauce. The takoyaki is not as crispy as it has probably been sitting there a while but is still good.
Overall, I am a huge fan of Menya Mappen. It provides a quick, cheap and tasty meal provided there are no lines as there is minimal waiting time for food preparation. They have a multitude of noodle options so for udon and soba lovers, this place is definitely the place for you. For rice lovers, they have their rice neighbour Menya Oiden next door which I am still yet to try.
11/537-551 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9283 5525