12/537-551 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Do you prefer rice or noodles? Regardless of your answer, boy do I have something for you. Because if you’re like me and can’t decide, head on over to Skyview Shopping Plaza, and you’ll find Mappen Noodle Restaurant and Oiden Bowl, sister restaurants sitting side by side, ready for whatever you might be feeling on the day.
The fact that Oiden and Mappen are sister restaurants is pretty obvious; not only are both set up in a charming retro Japanese style, they also have a very similar type of menu and ordering system. But whilst Mappen’s specialty is udon, Oiden is all about the stuff-on-rice. Other than that however, you still order at the counter and have your food served within seconds, before picking your sides from the self-serve section, paying, and then grabbing your cutlery on the way to a table.
Ok I lied a little – because of the time it takes to grill the beef, the Ontama Wagyu Beef ($10.9, regular) is actually brought out to the table.
To be honest, call me disappointed. The beef was dry and fairly bland, and was only held up by the side of dipping sauce. But then again, I don’t know what I expected for a tenner, even if it is wagyu.
The Teriyaki Chicken Curry ($8.5, regular) on the other hand was up to scratch. The chicken was a surprising winner – tender with a robust smokiness – and the accompany curry sauce and pickles were perfectly satisfactory.
Takoyaki ($2) is an always-pick for me when I see it under the heat lamps, but like the beef, this was bland and underwhelming. The Curry Croquette ($2.2) however was excellent. Because it was dinnertime, the rapid turnover meant that the outside was still hot and crisp, whilst the middle remained satisfyingly fluffy. I’m not sure where the curry came into this but hey, I had plenty of curry sauce to dip this into already. Similarly, the Pork Loin ($2.2) was crunchy and well fried, but I was baffled by the texture of the pork, which oddly seemed to be in layers rather than a single piece.
After having eaten at both Oiden and Mappen, I definitely prefer the latter. I found the food at Oiden to be all-round lacklustre, even taking price into account. I use Don Don (the one in Melbourne, not Sydney) as my benchmark for cheap, simple, and tasty food, and frankly, Oiden fell very short of the mark.
Rating: 11.5/20 – it’s fine I guess.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.