Menya Mappen, Japanese, Sydney
Ever popular noodles for noodlies
This place has noodlies, Sydney food blog coming back for more…
This lunch-time the queue snakes out the door, but it’s all highly organised and as a result, fuss-free. Noodlies imagines it’s like any noodle house in Hokkaido (I even say the city’s name in my head with a Japanese accent), where salarymen rush in to slurp a bowl before running out to grab a manga comic and board a Shinkansen, bullet train. Fortunately, this means (readers, now I move back to present day Sydney) the punters at Menya Mappen come and go in a heated rush ensuring there’s a seat for everyone.
Menya Mappen is the ultimate dyi good time, Japanese noodles your way; pick your broth, noodles, sides and condiment. Move along in school canteen fashion (or prison mess, depending on your fantasy) to collect side tempura, other golden fried temptations and condiments like pickles and kim chi. At the end, pay for your customised choice. It’s elegantly simple.
Three years since our last review of Menya Mappen and noodlies is back for another look. The signage telling you what to do is gone – they’ve obviously successfully trained Sydney-siders on the Mappen ways. Ramen is now gone from the menu and the price is up ever so slightly, from $4.90 to $5.20 for a large bowl.
Udon and soba are the most popular noodlies, in particular ontama bukkake udon seem to be on every tray. With some hesitation (because I love udon), noodlies gets adventurous and goes soba – thin and brown, it’s made from buckwheat, in contrast to tubular udon which is white, thicker and made from wheat. NEVER, never order without egg, which is cracked into the stock so it’s just cooked and gooey when pierced, adding creamy naughtiness. Look up bukkake dear readers, if you dare.
A thick slice of lemon is dunked into each bowl, don’t forget to give it a squeeze and remove. In the excitement, noodlies forgets and takes a big face-souring bite. Don’t try this at home kids!
Soba is earthy and dusty and when combined with the relatively salty (miso based?) broth, the result is powerful climax, leaving a MSG-bitter after-taste, just as well noodlies swallowed a mouthful of lemon juice. Still, it’s a crazily delicious bowl, though udon is probably more suited to noodlies’ delicate palate.
Prawn and vegetable tempura plus other fried meats-on-a-stick make nice sides. Noodlies loves the chunky sweet potato tempura.
When finished, take your tray and bowl to the tray return hutch and you’ll be greeted with toothy genuine thanks delivered in comic Japanese politeness.
Menya Mappen is too fun for words. It’s uber-Japanese, crowded but organised, nice but naughty, cultural and cheap.
What’s not to like?
Other branches: Bondi Junction and Brisbane.