November 03, 2015

Oiden is an authentic self-serve Japanese rice bowl bar dishing up delicious rice bowls that one can have with variations of curry, hashed beef, grilled beef, salmon or chicken and there are even options for vegetarians too. There's also four different salads which you may choose to have as a side or as a healthier main meal. Being conveniently situated right next door to Mappen means that there is an abundance of choice. 

Rice bowl menu
There were plenty of options which was quite overwhelming but Yuri simplified the task for us as she recommended the hashed beef rice and the kimchi BBQ beef bowl along with the teriyaki chicken salad. 

The BBQ beef bowls are made to order so if the queue has gotten considerably long (indicated by the laminated poster) then they can be pre-ordered to cut down the waiting time which is pretty efficient. 

Drinks station
Self-serve machines for honey lemon water ($1.90) and matcha milk tea ($2.90). Grab a plastic cup and fill it to the top with your choice of beverage. 

Ordering station
Communicate your order with one of the designated staff and they will swiftly prepare your desired meal. The curries and hashed beef sauces were kept hot in giant steel cylinder pots and generously ladled onto the plates as required. Add ontama egg for $1.20 and don't forget to grab a red bean pancake (dorayaki) if you want something sweet for afterwards. 

Besides ontama egg, you can also add extra cheese, grilled chicken or garlic butter topping. For the salad bowl, choose from a Japanese or sesame dressing. 

Fried goods station
Like Mappen, there was a wide selection of deep-fried foods which ranged in price from $1.20 to $2.40. Pick up a pair of tongs and plop whatever you like onto a plate. I strongly suggest the beef croquette.

Cold station
A cold bar storing an array of toppings, sides and mochi.

Right: Matcha milk tea Left: Honey lemon
The milk tea was pleasantly rich in green tea flavour without being heavily sweetened. Whereas the honey lemon drink reminded me of a less carbonated version of Sprite with a subtle honey flavour and was quite refreshing with my meal. 

Cheese hashed beef rice $6.90 (Regular size)
I can't recall the last time I had hashed beef rice (Hayashi rice) so it was the perfect opportunity to re-visit this classic dish which is a popular Western-style dish in Japan. The rich and thick brown sauce, otherwise known as demi-glace sauce was made even more delicious with the mozzarella cheese as it quickly melted away into creamy and cheesy goodness. The sauce was extremely flavoursome with the taste of tomato and cheese laced throughout and the heaping of white rice paired well to absorb the richness.

If I were to choose between hashed beef rice or kare rice there would be no clear winner as they are both wonderful comfort foods. It would largely depend on if I wanted something on the sweeter spectrum in which hashed beef rice would be the optimal choice or something more savoury with a spicy kick which would be kare rice.

Kimchi BBQ Beef rice bowl $11.90 (Large)
One would think that the thinly sliced beef which had a prominent smokey aroma from being freshly grilled and the slightly sweet and sour fermented cabbage would be polar opposites of one another but they worked surprisingly well to create a really satisfying comfort food. The kimchi was milder in flavour than what I am used to but was suitable as otherwise it would have overpowered the beef. 

Teriyaki chicken salad $3.90 (Small)
I dare say that the teriyaki chicken salad was one of the tastiest and most enjoyable salads I've ever had the pleasure to eat. I generally steer clear of salads as from experience the majority of them have turned out to be too tangy or bland for my taste but this was an exception. I would happily order it not just for the sake of devouring something with nutritional value but also because it was actually really delicious. The teriyaki chicken was so moist and juicy to the point I couldn't comprehend how such a feat was achieved and the teriyaki sauce itself was perfectly sweet and savoury. Toss some Japanese onion and garlic dressing over finely shredded cabbage and fresh leafy greens and we had a winning salad combination where no bit of it was left behind. 

Crispy and golden
Deep-fried tofu, pork katsu, beef croquette
The deep fried tofu cube pictured at the top had the crunchiest crumbed batter which I was surprised to encounter since their sides weren't made to order. Being tofu, it was on the plainer end of things but enjoyable nonetheless with my hashed beef rice which was flavour rich. Pictured on the right was the pork loin katsu that was crunchy albeit a little dry inside. The one side you must add to your meal would be the beef croquette which was Yuri's recommendation and it was absolutely delicious. I love the concept of croquettes as one can mix in mashed potato with any sort of minced meat, in this case it was sukiyaki beef and it would possess the softest of textures while being encased in a crispy golden crumbed exterior.

Dorayaki and sakura daifuku

The daifuku had the prettiest pink mochi skin and a light fragrance of sakura (cherry blossom). Eating it was a messy affair as the skin was really stretchy and also sticky which made it difficult to peel off the white cardboard adhered to the bottom. Once that dilemma was out of the way, I was finally able to take a bite out of it. The inside was stuffed with yummy red bean paste and the preserved shiso leaf offset the sweetness with its saltiness although it was a little strange at first. I never used to be a fan of red bean desserts but since being consistently exposed to them, I'm really starting to acquire a taste for it. Too much red bean can become sickening though so I can't eat too much of it.

Japanese pancake with red bean filling
The pancakes were amazingly soft and fluffy and sandwiched a tasty red bean filling that thankfully, wasn't too sweet. This traditional Japanese treat was much lighter than expected and I could easily go through a number of these in one sitting. 

Mini bowl set menu
For those on a tight budget, this would be a very attractive deal as not only is it amazing value for money but also an opportunity to try a bit of everything without eating excessively which I'm certain we've all been guilty of at one point. It is limited to 50 serves a day so be sure to get in quick to score this bargain.

Washoku Lovers benefits
Show your Washoku Lovers member card at Oiden to receive a free honey lemon water drink or a bowl of miso soup. It's free to sign up so there is absolutely no reason not to and in return you will gain access to discounts and freebies from a range of partnered authentic Japanese restaurants.
Find out more at http://www.washokulovers.com.

Oiden is the destination to head to if you're short on time and want a cheap and filling meal without sacrificing tastiness. If you're not in the mood for rice then neighbouring Mappen may be a more enticing option with its range of soba and udon dishes.

Thank you to Yuri from SDMG Marketing for the invitation to dine at Oiden

Oiden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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