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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Menya, Haymarket

"Irrashaaaaaaai-mase!"

Whenever I encounter this chirpy high-pitched wail in Japanese clipped staccato, it always make me smile. Japanese custom dictates that staff greet the arrival of every customer, a echoing catcall that bounces from the floorstaff and through the kitchen like a verbal Mexican wave.

menya noodle bar entrance

Menya Japan Noodle Bar is a little bit of ramen in a jostle of Chinese noodle shops in the student cheap eat haven that is the Prince Centre--next door is the local favourite Chinese Noodle Restaurant. However Menya is a reminiscent step straight into Japan, where customers pre-order and pay the cashier at the counter, take their table number and drinks, and sit at a giant communal dining table.

The interior is modern and sleek with the shiny laquered table surface and an eye-catching artwork that dominates one wall. It's a tangle of matt grey wire, like a mob of coat hangers having an orgy, and although it looks harsh and dangerous, it's more like a springy metal mattress, having bumped into it by accident on my way out, and bouncing off it rather harmlessly.

katsu don set
Katsu-don set $9.90
Deep-fried chicken cutlet cooked with fluffy egg, sliced onion,

shallot and sweet soy sauce served on top of rice
alongside a bowl of small menya ramen

The katsu-don set is an overwhelming feast given the under-$10 price. The chicken katsu-don, crumbed, fried and then covered in a sweet egg and stock mixture, is a little bit on the too-sweet side, but this is eased with the clear tasty pork broth of the large accompanying ramen.

chicken katsu don
Chicken katsu don on rice

menya ramen
Small Menya ramen
Soy flavoured noodle soup topped with boiled bean sprouts,
roasted pork, chopped vegetarian fungus, sesame and
dried seaweed shoot

menya soba
Menya soba $6.50
Soy flavoured stock soup topped with seasoned fried bean curd,

seaweed, tempura flakes and cooked shiitake mushroom

The Menya soba is satisfying firm and al-dente. Two plump sheets of abura-age deep-fried tofu are soft, juicy and sweet, two rehydrated shiitake mushrooms are filled with flavour. The tempura flakes are like deep-fried rice bubble puffs, cleansed easily by the cooked seaweed, chopped scallions and sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

There are plenty of ramen, soba and udon variants to choose from. Spicy tan-tan men and a caramelised garlic-infused kogashi-ninniku ramen are perfect slurping fare. Smaller appetites can choose the "kids and ladies ramen" for only $4.90.

Cold noodle dishes include the roast pork and boiled egg tsuke men, the Chinese-style hiyashi ramen, and the sweet simplicity of plain zaru soba cold soba noodles--one my of summertime favourites.

And for the non-noodle fans, box sets, gyoza, takoyaki, California rolls, salmon sashimi and mentaiko chilli cod roe rice balls provide tasty alternatives.

This is fast food, Japanese-style, prepared fresh whilst you wait; a format which has its wannabes but one that few succeed in.

menya japan noodle bar


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Menya on Urbanspoon

Menya Japan Noodle Bar
Ground floor, Shop TG8
Prince Centre
8 Quay St, Sydney
(enter from Thomas Street, ground level)
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 1020

Lunch

Mon and Wed-Fri 11.30am-3pm
Sat-Sun & Public Holidays 11.30am-4pm

Dinner
Mon, Wed to Sun 5pm-9.30pm (closed Tuesdays)

Menya is part of the Yakiniku group of retaurants by I'S Holdings that includes:

Rengaya (Japanese BBQ)
73 Miller Street, North Sydney Tel: +61 (02) 9926 6169

Suminoya (Japanese BBQ + all-you-can-eat)
1 Hosking Place, Sydney (near Martin Place) Tel: +61 (02) 9231 2177

Koh-ya Sydney (all-you-can-eat Japanese BBQ)
Shop 1, 9-17 Young Street, Neutral Bay Tel: +61 (02) 9904 5036

Koh-ya Brisbane (all-you-can eat Japanese BBQ)
Shop 4, 624 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, Tel: +61 (07) 3252 3275

Koh-ya Cairns (all-you-can-eat Japanese BBQ)
Shop 50, 1st floor, Orchid Plaza, Spence Street, Cairns, Tel: +61 (07) 4041 6006

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Japanese ramen -- Ajisen Ramen, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ichi Ban Boshi, Sydney (Feb08) and (Aug05)
Japanese ramen -- Menya Japan Noodle Bar, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ramen Kan, Haymarket (Aug 05), (Nov 04)
Japanese ramen -- Ryo's Noodles, Crows Nest (Mar08), (Aug07) and (Jul07)
Japanese ramen -- Tokyo Ramen, Hornsby
Japanese ramen -- Zenya Noodle Bar, Eastwood

15 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 9/16/2006 11:41:00 pm


15 Comments:

  • At 9/17/2006 12:29 am, Anonymous Ellie said…

    Looks like the place to go for a quick and healthy feed - isn't it amazing the kind of food you can get for under $10 at a lot of these sort of eateries? Makes you wonder why anyone goes to McDonalds...

     
  • At 9/17/2006 1:40 am, Blogger Jodi said…

    Hey! That's the restaurant that I emailed you about a couple of months ago - but which I didn't know the name of...doh! I'm glad you experienced the food as I had...Fantastic! Funny, I was craving for their ramen just last night...is it a sign? hehe

     
  • At 9/17/2006 8:40 am, Blogger Robyn said…

    KATSU DON!!@!#@!@

    Yessss.

    That's what I'd order. Especially for under $10.

    ARGH, I want to go to Sydney! Or Japan.

     
  • At 9/17/2006 5:12 pm, Anonymous FFichiban said…

    looks so good! cos im very biased for Jap food ^^ nyummmm
    this place reminds me of ramen-kan!and im a regular at suminoya cos of the all-you-can-eat =D and ichiban cos of the shio butter corn hee hee cant get much better (butter?) :|
    Thx so much for introducing this place to meee!! ill def have to try it out

     
  • At 9/17/2006 9:51 pm, Blogger papa lazarou said…

    yes its a decent noodle around the burlington centre... i just came back from nice ramen at 'genki' (artarmon station)...

     
  • At 9/18/2006 12:18 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Ellie - My sentiments exactly.

    Hi Jodi - It is indeed. It took me a while to get around to trying it, but I'm glad I did. I remember it used to be a sushi bar (the food was ok).

    Hi Robyn - Yes, come to Sydney. After you eat up Paris, of course!

    Hi FFichiban - I think the noodles here are better than Ramen-kan, and I have been meaning to check out Suminoya or Koh-ya for ages!

    Hi papa lazarou - You cannot beat a good bowl of ramen.

     
  • At 9/18/2006 2:08 pm, Blogger shez said…

    I went there a couple of weeks back for the katsu-ramen - it could just be my height (which is relatively lacking) but did you find that your feet were left to dangle due to the height of the long bench seats? I ended up half seated/half perched whilst I ate. But oh! how yummy they were! and they didn't have that salty/dry aftertaste that most japanese places leave you with!

    ps) thought you might be interested - chinese noodles next door has changed their decor... the persian dancing ladies have been replaced by views of the countryside. brightly bizarre :)

     
  • At 9/18/2006 6:50 pm, Blogger Tubby said…

    Ooo! I've eaten here a few times and I love the karage chicken ramen and kimchi ramen! Try the kimchi one in particular ;)

    Oh and hi Helen! I'm Jenny/Tubby=)
    If you remember me, I was the one who recommended Uighur Cuisine? =)
    I love your blog and you inspired me to start my very own =)

     
  • At 9/18/2006 7:47 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    I had some katsudon the other night from a Japanese shop in a shopping centre food court. It tasted terrible, more like two minute noodle rather than Japanese noodle. This place looks very good and great value too. My katsudon from the shopping centre was a tiny bowl for $7.50.

     
  • At 9/18/2006 9:38 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Shez - I remember some custoemrs were complaining about that; I was on the raised platform but didn't have a problem, but I am quite tall so it may only affect the vertically challenged =)

    And I will have to check out Chinese Noodle Restaurant's new decor. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Hi tubby - Ooh another foodblogger, but you'll have to make it public on your profile so we can all look-see!

    Hi thanh7580 - Chinatown is always filled with cheap decent eats. You can rarely get better value...

     
  • At 9/19/2006 3:40 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Yummo! You know that I cannot resist the katsu don!

     
  • At 9/19/2006 9:27 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Veruca Salt - Yes I know. Me on the other hand, I am usually torn between the tempura and the salmon sashimi...

     
  • At 9/27/2006 1:49 am, Anonymous Rahulley said…

    hey helen,
    long time reader first time poster.
    I went to menya today for dinner. Found out that its actually closed on tuesdays.
    Had to settle for Sakura on pitt st instead- poor me!! NOT!!

     
  • At 9/29/2006 10:40 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Rahulley - Thanks for letting me know. You're right. I walked past it the other day and noticed the sign (I grabbed the opening hours from a menu, I think).

    Hopefully you'll make it another time. And thanks for making your first comment too. The first one is always the hardest :)

     
  • At 11/01/2006 3:35 am, Anonymous C said…

    I walked past it today as well and it was closed :( Went to Ramen Kan instead... Is it just me or Ramen Kan's don is not as great as before, due to its rice being too soft (a bit gluey)?
    Katsu-don set is $10.90 at Menya, according to the menu...increased pricing already?

     

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