By Liam Pointing
You’ve had a long day at work and your stomach is calling for food.
While another day in Sydney is nearing the end, fast-food joints become bustling venues crammed with hungry people.
Yes, there are the traditional options available but the market provides so many tasty alternatives. Mappen Noodle Bar, primed on delivering tasty Japanese meals quicker than you can say, “I’ll have one Big Mac please”, is an excellent example.
The vibe feels traditional, yet friendly and warm. As you walk in, you are greeted in Japanese style and take your place in the line to order.
The menu covers a wide range of options, ranging from noodles to soups, curries, salads and rice dishes.
Part of what makes this place so great is the efficiency with which it operates. Peering into the kitchen, you can see many cooks at work, pumping out meals at a relentless pace. Most meals are handed back to you on your tray within a couple of minutes.
The meals themselves are tasty enough to be satisfied. No one is comparing this to Michelin restaurants and that’s not what this place is meant to be.
Highly recommended is the katsu curry and the kake noodle soups, with a range of meat and vegetable options to choose from. The sides are excellent as well; you can load up your meal with fried chicken, octopus balls and many other tasty delights.
Given the intention of the place, there is a somewhat unspoken system of respect to be observed. You don’t reserve tables before you receive your meal, and it is polite to not take needlessly long at the table. You also take your tray back up to the kitchen, ready for the workers to clean.
Pricewise, you can expect to spend $30-$40 for a good meal for two people.
They also have a range of beverages available, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Paring ramen with an Asahi is oh so sweet.
Mappen represents a new segment in the fast-food industry, offering people new options to the classic burger and chips. It’s clearly been a hit and the packed tables are testament to its success.
Where: Shop 11, 537-551 George St, Sydney NSW 2000.
When: Open 7 days 11am-9pm
Featured image: Great food served with efficiency and respect. Photo: Liam Pointing