That was taken at Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum when I was there last year.
And this is in Sydney now :
|Showa Samurai Movie Posters|
Felt like I'm transported back into Japan's Showa era once again, just like how it was in the ramen museum in Yokohama :) Even the music playing in the background is of that era as well, talk about keeping things authentic !
Mappen is a new venture by I's Group who is also running the yakiniku houses (Rengaya, Sumino-ya-, Koh-ya) and the ramen chain Menya.
|Ordering & Self Service Counter|
I was browsing the Cheer's website ( the free monthly Japanese magazines in Sydney) over the weekend and was looking at (what else) the gourmet section :P
Mappen is listed as one of the new Japanese eatery opening up in Sydney, on 1st September 2010 to be exact ! From my limited Japanese reading capability , I gather that the concept will be like the self service udon shop found all around Japan.
|Instructions ; Drinks ; Noodle / Rice Menu ; Free Toppings|
If you are unsure how it works, fret not, there is cute instruction sheet with pictures available :) First you get your cold drinks from the fridge ( hot tea is towards the end of the line and water is free), then you tell them what sort of noodle base you'd like ( a few donburi - rice bowl options are also available). They cook the noodles to order and in a few minutes you have a bowl of hot noodle on your tray ! Top your choice with as much negi (shallots) and hana (tempura flakes) as you like - I like lots of shallots on mine.
Move along the line.....and then....
|Deep Fried Goodies|
Tempura galore !!! This is the section where I had to control myself not to go ballistic and get one of each :P
Everything just looked so damn good...deep fried stuffs...mmmmm.....
As they are prepared in small batches, you can be sure that they haven't been "sun" bathing for very long.
|Kakiage ; Chikuwa ; Soft Boiled Egg ; Sweet Potatoes (at the back)|
The tempura on offer ranges from the traditional stuffs like kakiage, chikuwa and the sweet potatoes. Then you have the more unusual one like soft boiled egg ! I would have gotten it if the udon I ordered doesn't come with an egg already - next time....
I think the tempura are reasonably priced, ranging from 90cents - $3.00 per piece. With the basic noodle bases prices from $3.90 - $6.00, you can mix and match to get a meal to suit your budget.
|Miso Soup ; Ten-Tsuyu|
Moving right along the counter, there are some salad in the chilled cabinet if you need some greens to counter balance the deep fried goodies, or perhaps one of the individually packed onigiri (rice ball). I didn't take a good look at the onigiri, but I believe they have various fillings available, probably the sour plum (ume boshi) or flaked salmon ?
Until dining at Mappen, I didn't know that miso soup can be made available from a dispensing unit ! But then again, the Japanese has made fresh bouquets of flowers dispensable too :P
Don't forget to grab a bowl of ten-tsuyu to dip your tempura in as well as you pay for your meal at the cashier.
|Fellow diner enjoying his udon ; Pepper & Shichimi Togarashi ; Chopsticks ; Ramen|
The pepper & shichimi togarashi ( 7 spices chilli pepper) shakers are just so cute don't u think ? Beside udon, you have also an option of having soba or ramen instead.
See that bowl of ramen that my friend had ? That is a small bowl.....yep...small....Imagine what the large one will be, people on the other table had ordered the large serving size and all I can see is a mountain of noodles in their bowls LOL
Unless you are starving, I'd say just stick with the small one.
There are a few of us dining tonight, so we managed to cover quite a good selection from the menu, so here goes :
|Ontama Bukkake Soba|
One of the more traditional and classic base, noddle of your choice with tsukedashi soup, topped with onsen tamago (soft boiled egg) and a wedge of lemon to make it more refreshing.
Tsukedashi is a thick and rich sauce made with soy sauce, stock made from selected fish (bonito, etc) and konbu (dried kelp). Classic, simple and clean Japanese flavours that can never go wrong :)
If you are after something with more robust flavours then go for the curry option. Just like the first one, you can have udon, ramen or soba with the curry.
|Niku Udon ; Kakiage|
For something more meaty, go for the Niku (meat) option, the base is kakedashi (basic dashi stock) sukiyaki wagyu beef.
I didn't get to try it but my friend gave his stamp of approval :)
|Ontama Bukakke Udon ; Sweet Potatoes & Calamari Tempura|
My choice :) I don't like soupy food so the tsukedashi base is the one. The udon has just the right bite to it, slippery chewy strands of fat noodles :) The flavours of the stock is clean and simple, a little spritz of the lemon does made it more refreshing, perfect for when the weather gets hotter.
I'm not an expert on sweet potatoes, so I don't know what is the difference between the two they had that day. One is the common yellow fleshed sweet potato, while the other has white flesh with purple skin - could it be the Japanese sweet potato, satsuma imo ? Love sweet potatoes, deep fried even better !
|Perfect Onsen Tamago|
We all left with stomach filled to the brim and satisfied ^_^ The damage done to my wallet ? One bowl of udon with soft boiled egg, 2 sweet potato tempura, 1 calamari tempura and a cup of hot green tea =
$9.80 $9.50 (found my receipt!). Less than $10 for a very satisfying meal of excellent quality.
Mappen is not easily spotted from George Street as it is tucked inside Sky View Plaza, behind Pepper Lunch.
It doesn't have a large seating area but not too worry, the turnover is pretty quick as you get your food very quickly and it doesn't take long to eat them too.
What's next on the menu to try...hmmmm.....