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.
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.
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.
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.