Oiden Bowl Bar, Sydney

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In the same shop­ping arcade as my new favour­ite place for udon, Menya Mappen, there are a bunch of oth­er food places serving tra­di­tion­al Japanese fare with the same self-serve sys­tem. Directly next to Menya Mappen is Oiden Bowl Bar whose menu focuses on rice bowl dishes.

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The first items on their menu involve raw sal­mon. They’re described as ‘raw minced sal­mon belly, fly­ing fish row (sic), dried sea­weed and egg yolk powder on rice’ ($8.50 for large). The addi­tion of an ontama (half boiled egg) (+$1) is the only dif­fer­ence between them.

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N and I had second thoughts on the minced sal­mon when read­ings the descrip­tion, but then the photo of the dish on the menu showed diced small cubes of sal­mon so we decided to try it any­way. Unfortunately, not true to their photo, the sal­mon came out almost minced bey­ond recog­ni­tion (oth­er than its tell­tale pinky col­our). It had the tex­ture of baby food (i.e., none) and tasted bland. The addi­tion of was­abi brought out some of the sal­mon fla­vours but without any tex­ture in the sal­mon, the roe only made the rice bowl more mushy. The egg was soft-boiled but a taken a tad too far so was left with a gooey, rather than slightly oozy centre. Perhaps that was for the best, ’cause the oozy egg yolk would have made the rice bowl too much like baby food.

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To go with my rice bowl, I chose a beef and potato cro­quette. I had high hopes for some­thing tasty, but it seems like they made the cro­quette by put­ting beef, potato and onion into a food pro­cessor (maybe the same one they put the sal­mon through?!), blend­ing into obli­vi­on, and then deep fry­ing slabs of it. The res­ult is a single col­oured brown mash that’s also the tex­ture of baby food. Texture issues aside, the fla­vour­ing was decent.

While I won’t be in any rush to return to Oiden, they do seem to be rather busy dur­ing lunch hour so per­haps their BBQ beef bowls fare better.

Oiden Bowl Bar is loc­ated at 12 /​537 – 551 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000.