I have always thought that eating out in Sydney is expensive, especially coming from Malaysia where we still tend to convert prices from AUD$ to RM (sometimes it comes naturally!). Of course, I don’t do that now, or I’ll end up staying at home all the time. But just a few weeks ago, my cousin pointed me to a place in the city that apparently had ‘cheap’ food. Well she had been in Sydney for a much longer time than me so I didn’t know whether her definition of cheap was similar to mine. Anyway, Saucer and I were in town so we decided to stop by Oiden Bowl Bar. For starters, it was easy to find because it’s situated along one of the main streets in the CBD, George Street. Secondly, it was also a short walking distance from Town Hall train station, so getting there was no hassle for us.
Japanese Plain Curry Rice
Once we were there, we noticed that there was a queue towards the counter, and it seemed that food was self-served. There was just a one page menu pasted on the wall, with a variety of toppings on rice and different sizes (small, medium, large). We just had to grab a tray, queue up, order, get our order almost immediately and pay at the counter. It was a pretty efficient process because all of the items were prepared on-the-spot by just putting your desired toppings on the rice bowls. It was literally, Japanese fast food. Before you reach the counter, there was also a bar filled with side dishes such as pork katsu (deep fried pork cutlet), chicken karaage (deep fried chicken), takoyaki (squid balls) and so on. You could choose the sides that you want (or not) and place them on the tray before moving to the counter to pay.
Teriyaki Chicken Rice (Small – AUD$3.90)
I wasn’t feeling too hungry that day, so I opted for a small portion of Teriyaki Chicken Rice and it cost only $3.90! That has got to be the cheapest meal I’d ever had in Sydney, dining in! The portion was slightly smaller than, say, the Teriyaki Chicken Rice in Sakae Sushi, but it was just right for me at the point of time. Of course, one could choose to have a regular or large size if one is feeling famished. The rice came with skinless chicken breast, which was a very healthy option, on top of some seaweed. It wasn’t great-tasting but it wasn’t bad either. It was certainly good value.
Chicken Karaage and Pork Katsu (AUD$4.50 for both)
Saucer had the Japanese Plain Curry Rice, regular size, which was quite huge. That was also the same price as my chicken rice, and was only $2.90 for small size. The curry was thick and flavourful and had a generous amount of vegetables within. It was also a nice comfort food especially during the cold winter days. From the side dishes, we picked the Chicken Karaage and Pork Katsu to share and they turned out to be pretty good. I preferred the chicken to the pork since I found the chicken to be very tender and juicy with a nice crispy marinade. It reminded me of belacan chicken in Malaysia!
Japanese Plain Curry Rice (Regular – AUD$3.90)
Overall we had cheap and fulfilling meal at Oiden, and definitely wouldn’t mind returning again whenever we drop by the city. It was fuss-free, decent and very good value for money. Just make sure you go before or after peak dining hours because getting a place to sit could be tricky then.
Oiden Bowl Bar
Shop 12, 531-557, George Street,
NSW 2000 Australia.
Tel No.: +61(2) 9267 1368
Opening Hours: Daily (11.30am – 10pm)