Mappen Noodle Bar is where N and I go when we want to stop thinking about whether some place is good to eat and just fill ourselves with reliably good and affordable food. Usually, that means we’ve had a long week and need a break from our habit of trying new restaurants.
I love udon, but having since discovered the ease with which I can replicate the flavours and textures at home, I’m here to satisfy my craving for rice bowls with two mini rice bowls and tempura sweet potato.
This is the Mini Ontama Bowl ($2.90), a half boiled egg, dried seaweed and egg yolk powder on rice. The combination of the oozy egg with the umami from the crunchy seaweed, egg yolk powder and dashi broth drizzled over, is ridiculously satisfying. I could eat bowls of this!
And so I do. At $2.90 the mini bowl is a steal and this regular sized bowl ($3.90) which comes with an extra egg is even more so.
Japanese curry is comfort food and this Mini Curry Bowl ($3.90) with Japanese curry sauce and pickled radish on a small bowl of rice hits all the right spots. The curry has a sweet, gentle heat in the curry over toothsome rice.
I’m always on the look out for some good karaage, so this is the Mini Karaage Mayo Bowl ($4.90), with deep fried chicken, dried seaweed, sour teriyaki sauce and mayo on rice. This karaage was underwhelming, though, as the chicken breast lacked the juiciness of the thigh, which is usually used, and the batter lacked the crispiness of good piping hot karaage. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t all kinds of satisfying like Ippudo’s.
Lucky for me I snapped up the last piece of tempura sweet potato ($1.20)! The batter is deliciously crispy, which contrasts beautifully with the starchy sweet innards.
And N shares her takoyaki, which had a crunchy exterior hiding mushy — in a good way — innards, which reminds me of the ones made from frozen produced by Jun Pacific (a post on them later). Like most food, it would’ve tasted much more satisfying piping hot.
Mappen Noodle Bar is located at Shop 11, Skyview Plaza, 537 – 551, George St, Sydney NSW 2000.