A long time favourite of mine is Mappen (meaning one more time) and I’ve been there plenty! It’s a self service style udon and soba noodle bar and it’s cheap, cheerful and delicious! You can read my previous review here.
Being self service also means the line moves fast, efficiently and diners tend to not linger to long at the end (freeing up valuable dining space for diners coming through the lines). Grab a drink, a tray, ask for the noodles/soup of your choice and then walk along the line to choose your toppings. There is something comforting about udon, My usual go to dish is the Bukkake Ontama Mentaiko which is udon in a soy and dashi sauce with chilli cod roe butter and an unbelievably soft half cooked egg. The chewiness of thick, ropey udon noodles swimming in a light but tasty broth topped with gooey egg is something special topping it off with a variety of fried goodies is even better. Everything from tempura prawns and vegetables to takoyaki balls and crab sticks. There are a few salad options like potato salad, corn or seaweed if you wish, but it’s the free tempura flakes and negi (shallots) that you can spoon on at the end that gets me EVERY…SINGLE….TIME!
So where was I earlier in the week? Mappen of course! There were three of us dining this evening and we are here to taste the new Washoku Lovers Autumn special consisting of a selection of small bowls and a drink. It’s specifically aimed at Washoku Lover members (and more on this shortly). This special includes a mini Kake Udon, mini Ontama Bukkake soba, mini Japanese curry bowl, mini Salad and original drink (black sesame milk). A variety of dishes to sample!
We arrive just before the main rush and we are lucky to get a table and seat before we get our food (special privilege for the evening). Normal etiquette is to take a table/seat after you have your food…regardless!
The Kake udon is everything I was expecting. A clean, light sauce with chewy udon noodles. Simplicity at it’s finest.
The Ontama Bukkake soba bowl is full of umami flavours and pure comfort. The gooey, oozing egg broken through the soba noodles offers a unique texture to the noodles. The light dashi style broth is so flavourful I could drink this on its own and be satisfied. That’s always a good sign when the broth is exceptional. I may have put a couple of big spoons of negi and tempura flakes on top.
The salad is a simple leafy salad that is refreshing and topped with a Japanese style dressing (which in itself is awesome) but in all honesty I would rather focus on the other dishes.
The Japanese curry bowl is a thick style curry sauce. It’s served atop a small bowl of rice and some red capsicum. It’s tasty but I think I would have enjoyed this more if I wasn’t so full on noodles. I will say I failed to identify the meat. I want to say beef but I could be wrong!
It’s the first time I’ve had a black sesame milk drink before and although on the sweeter side for my palate the black sesame taste shines through.
Overall this is a great deal. Four mini dishes and a drink for $9.90. You can’t go wrong. But remember you have to be a member to enjoy this.
So what’s this all about?
Recently, the Washoku Lovers website was launched. Washoku is about balance and harmony and skills, knowledge and traditions in relation to Japanese cuisine and respecting the seasons and natural resources. This website brings together a carefully selected list of restaurants and chefs in Sydney who are Washoku.
How do I become a member?
Here’s Washoku Lover's website.
It’s simple and free to become a member. Benefits while dining at their partner restaurants include free dessert or a drink and the team are constantly adding to the benefits while the community grows. Not only does Washoku Lovers include Mappen, the community also includes restaurants such as Azuma, Busshari, Chanoma, Oiden, Osan, Raita noda Chef’s Kitchen and Yebisu to name a few.
Currently Washoku Loves are also running a competition over the next three months and prizes total $3000 including sake sets and sake, karate lessons, mystery dinners and Japanese beauty products. So sign up to become a member and join the Washoku community today and be in the running for some great prizes.
*Roofood dined as an invited guest at Mappen, Washoku Lovers and SD Marketing. Roofood’s opinions and reviews are solely her own.