Shop 11, 537-551 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 9283 5525
One of my new favourite places to eat in Sydney is Menya Mappen, the Japanese noodle store that has taking the city by storm. Marty and I walked past it one Sunday on our way to Pitt Street Mall but didn’t step inside as we already had lunch plans. Being the determined foodie that I am, though, I decided that we had to stop by for some noodles before heading to the airport later that night.
Menya Mappen specialises in udon dishes, both and cold. If udon ain’t your thing, then there is soba. There is also a fully-stocked bain-marie filled with fried goodies, whether they be udon toppings such as tempura items or sundry snack items such as takoyaki (fried octopus balls). And the best thing about Menya Mappen? The food here is cheap. Really cheap. You can order a regular-sized udon in plain broth for a measly $3.90 if all you want is a nibble, or a large-sized bowl if you’re feeling particularly hungry. Prices, of course, will vary depending on how many add-ons you order (and trust me, there are a LOT you can choose from) but you can easily get a decent meal for less than a tenner.
Marty’s beef udon was a steal at $6.60 – and delicious too. The plain broth base was flavoursome enough on its own and the udon ribbons were amazingly chewy and dense. The beef which was stewed in a sweet soy marinade, however, gave the broth a bit more substance.
I started off with a regular-sized pain udon and added a half-boiled egg ($1.20) and prawn tempura from the bain-marie (can’t remember how much the prawn was but it wasn’t terribly expensive). I was blown away by how beautiful my dish was.
From the tasty broth to the slippery noodles that tasted especially delicious when coated with gooey egg yolk, my udon was DA BOMB. The broth was delicate yet tasty at the same time, and the generously-sized tempura prawn remained crispy even after I dunked it in soup. Is it the best place to find udon in Australia? I initially gave this honour to Heiroku Sushi on the Gold Coast but after eating here, I’d have to say that Menya Mappen is numero uno (but Heiroku wouldn’t be so far behind).
Even though we didn’t eat a lot between us, our dishes kept us full for the rest of the evening. Hell, I was still full even by the time I arrived at my house in Melbourne. As far as I know, there are no udon specialists in Melbourne so Menya Mappen would definitely be a place I’d be returning to time and time again when I’m in Sydney.