For those that have been long time readers and or know me personally, you know of my love affair. It's a love affair that is comforting, loving and it's warm embrace is welcoming and needed on occasions. It was love at first sight and has deepened over time. It’s faithful, loyal, trustworthy and never stands you up. That love affair is with Mappen on George street in the city.
So when I was recently invited to dine at Mappen at Bondi Junction I was curious and intrigued by the menu. The Bondi restaurant offers a combination of the menus from Mappen, Oiden, Tenkomori and Dera Uma (all owned by the same company) which gives a lot of flexibility and choice and it also serves Japanese alcoholic beverages including Japanese Orion beer and sake (and for the record I have recently become a sake convert all thanks to Yuri at Washoku Lovers).
Tough choice when there are various restaurant dishes on the menu but we eventually come up with a worthy meal!
I grab a tray and head on down the line, first ordering out soup and rice then pick and mix a selection of tempura which is kept hot under the lamps. Next up is the cold salads and desserts. Then you pay at the end. Easy.
There is a small condiments bench where I fill up on shallots and mounds of crispy tempura pieces (my little guilty pleasure!)
Check out the tempura goodies.
I have ordered a sake (cold), which is served in a cute square Japanese cup. As a Washoku Lovers members, you can add a side of pan fried gyoza (3) for $3 with your sake. That’s a great deal.
Our table is laden with delicious food and after a few snaps (yes I few LOL) we are ready.
So here from top and clockwise we have the Wagyu BBQ Beef bowl, gyoza, chicken katsu, prawn tempura, udon soup with chilli tofu mince and daifuku.
I have gone with my traditional udon with chilli tofu mince with pickled mustard greens. Silly me forgot to order an onsen egg to go on top (insert sad face here).
Yes I may have walked around the restaurant to pose my bowl of soup above. Below is where we ate at the communal tables. I just love my udon soup topped with shallots and lots of crispy tempura. The broth is light and full of salty flavour and the fat, silky udon are slippery and chewy.
My dining partner for the evening is Mr M and he starts with his pan fried gyoza and says they are really good. I didn't try one tonight. Followed by the BBQ Wagyu beef rice bowl with coleslaw, pickled ginger and sesame seed.
The wagyu beef is tender and sweet and delicious. The crunchy coleslaw is a nice addition and good texture. The beauty of the rice bowl to is that you can choose your size bowl making this a great way to portion out your meal (depending on your appetite).
After my bowl of noodles, I have saved my tempura bits for last. I bite into the crispy prawn tempura and the prawn is delicately cooked and the tempura is super crunchy. I am always intrigued how they keep it hot and crisp.
The chicken katsu is perfection. Crispy and perfectly cooked chicken thigh its super tasty and I nibble on it through out the meal. I love it.
Ending our meal with daifuku but we are full so I take them home to have later. Here we have the lovely pink sakura daifuku. Filled with a not so overly sweet red bean, it's a lovely way to end the meal. I also had the black sesame daifuku too.
Mappen Bondi is the perfect spot for a casual meal or snack. The many options and variations available makes for an easy choice for those that just don't know what they want of for those that want a bit of everything.
*Roofood dined as a guest of Mappen and SD Marketing. Thank you for the invitation.