What a cool little restaurant in the heart of Sydney CBD. This was the first time I’ve ever been to a self-service noodle bar. It’s kind of like the Subway of Japanese noodle dishes. So if you like being in control of what goes in your meal, drop by at Menya Mappen Japanese Noodle Bar next time your on George St, Sydney.
For me, I love the pick-and-choose concept of this place. For your convenience, you can choose exactly what you want to have in your meal with the components of the dish all laid out in front of you. In fact, there’s actually a set of instructions at the front of the restaurant to tell you how exactly to order. They are as follows:
Step 1: Grab a drink from the fridge.
Well, being the notorious rule-breaker I am, I didn’t get a drink from their fridge, I opted for water and their tea.
Step 2: Grab a tray and choose from the noodle or rice menu.
In this case, I chose the Beef Udon Noodle dish (the dishes actually come in a medium and large size). So yummy, full of flavour and decent portions – regardless the size of your appetite, the portions here are definitely ‘one-size-fits-all’.
It’s worth mentioning also that the service is very quick and efficient. Like an American school cafeteria, customers line up in an orderly fashion, place their tray on the bench and are promptly served the food according to his or her choosing.
Step 3: Help yourself to toppings. (Note: all toppings will cost you extra; prices vary depending on the topping.)
There is a variety of toppings from which to choose here. The one thing that caught my attention was the Kakiage tempura ($2.50) – a golden ball of prawn and onion tempura. Mmm-mmm. I also chose prawn tempura ($3.50). As you can tell, I seem to be partial to deep-fried cooking.
As unhealthy it may be, the indulgent side of me loves deep-fried foods. My indulgent side would say “everything would taste better if it were deep-fried”. My normal side would say “Stop! Those extra calories are going straight to your love-handles”. And every once in a while the normal side will win.
Step 4: Take your tray to the register.
Take your stocked up tray to the register and be greeted by the friendly girl behind the counter. Like every other Japanese restaurant I’ve been to, the wait staff are very welcoming and friendly. The girl at the register was so polite and so girlishly cute, reminding me of that typical Japanese schoolgirl character.
Step 5: Take your tray to a table and enjoy your meal.
The one thing that I could be critical of here was the seating arrangements. All tables were very big and communal-style. For me, I like to have a little privacy and not have to share the table with other strangers who are within ear’s reach.
Step 6: When you’re done, return your tray.
At the end of my meal, I have to say I was very satisfied. I think this place is a nice little restaurant to go to if your hanging out in the city on the weekend and want to have a light lunch. So stop by and make your meal happen at Menya Mappen.