Friday, 3 September 2010

Mappen, Sydney CBD

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 :)

Curry Udon

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.....

Mappen on Urbanspoon
Opens 7 Days 11.30am - 10.00pm (till 10.30pm Thu - Sat)


  1. ZOMG awesome! you always find the most awesome places to try i can't wait to check this place out!

  2. oh my gosh, thanks for letting me know. It looks like its in Japan.. I am worried that I can't control myself at the tempura section :D

  3. suze : lol should check it out soon, I just love the concept and decor :)

    ja : it does doesn't it ? think of your tummy when you are at the tempura section lol

  4. This one's so cute! Ja made me promise that I can't go there without her :D

  5. nut : LOL has she made you sign a contract ? hahahaa

  6. omg this looks good!!

  7. anonymous : it is very good indeed !!

  8. This place is great for a cheap eat. When I was last in Japan, there was a restaurant in Tokyo like this. Sweet memories.

  9. happynomnomnom : i want to go back to Japan again many delicious yet cheap foods...yummm :)

  10. Great pictures! I now love this place! It made me feel like I was back in Japan too! Always a good thing. Just so dam tasty, fast and fab!

  11. Looks incredible! Can't wait to try it

  12. hi miss freathers : thanks :) you know what, it has been a while since I ate there, it's time for another visit I think ! cold udon on hot summer like these days...mmmmm

    hi miss B : you should try it, guaranteed hooked on them as they are so cheap and oh so delicious :)