Menya Mappen Noodle Bar, Sunnybank (QLD)

We have been on a bit of a ramen binge of late and wanted to try something on the other side of the price range. And the word on the street was we should try the Menya Mappen Noodle Bar in Sunnybank (QLD), which opened late last year.

One might be hard pressed to find it, as it is located at one of the outer shop spaces at Sunnybank Plaza facing one of the many car parks the Plaza has.  It is a tiny shop space with narrow bench counter style tables and wooden ‘crates’ as chairs, and from what we hear, they get really busy during meal times.

If you have never been to Japan before, the ordering system might be a little daunting. A gigantic menu is in print on the store window and another is overhead. The ‘mains’ generally follow these basic rules: soba (buckwheat noodles) or udon (wheat noodles)? Medium or large size? Soup, curry or dry? There is also a selection of rice dishes too, but this is a noodle bar.

Once you have made your main selection and the staff are cooking your noodles, you can turn your attention to the bain-marie for their tempura selection. We were there around 3:30pm, so the selection was very limited – a couple of prawns, mixed vegetable tempura, sweet potato, chicken, vegetable croquette…

Prawn tempura (AUD$2.60) and vegetable croquette (AUD$1.50)


 

I quite liked my vegetable croquette. Under its crispy golden brown shell is a creamy potato mash with some frozen vegetables mixed in. It was also thankfully not cold, so I suspect it had not been made too long ago.

Chicken tempura (AUD$1.80) and prawn tempura

However the SO and I were disappointed with the prawn tempura. The tempura batter is perfectly light and crunchy, but much too thick. It was about 70% batter to 30% prawn, which is a real pity, cuz I would go back there just for their prawn tempura if they used better prawns.

Beef udon (or soba). AUD$6.60 (medium), AUD$7.90 (large). Additional half-boiled egg. (AUD$1)


The SO didn’t comment much about his Beef udon, save he liked the udon and that his half-boiled egg was cold in the centre.
 

Kake: soba (or udon). AUD$3.90 (medium), AUD$5.20 (large)

The Kake is just hot noodles (your choice of soba or udon) in kakedashi stock. The noodles were cooked that little bit too much for my liking. A few seconds more and they would have been soggy.

The kakedashi stock is good – not too salty and not tasteless either. It’s simple and easy to slurp up.

You are also allowed to help yourself to the finely sliced spring onions and tenkasu (bits of tempura) at the cashier counter – as long as it’s only 1 scoop per customer.

The meals are inexpensive and decent for the price, so there is nothing to complain about if you are looking for a casual (relatively healthy) feed, but don’t expect to be wow-ed.

 

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