If I had to use three words to describe Chatswood’s Marukame Udon it would be quick, cheap and self-service. You order your main of noodles or rice off the menu at the front and slide your tray along the counter, choosing any sides or drinks along the way.
Condiments such as spring onion, tempura flakes (these are a favourite), ginger, sauces and jugs of water are available at a separate, self-service table.
We sampled the tempura eggplant which was soft inside with a crunchy, light tempura batter. The prawn katsu would have been a nice snack by itself with a crispy crumb and springy prawn fishball inside.
The curry croquette had quite a thick crumbed coating, but the inside was tasty with a curry-flavoured potato and vegetable filling. The taiyaki is a good dessert option. The bready carp was nicely fried and the red bean filling was sweet and plentiful.
From the mains we tried off the menu, I wouldn’t recommend the Aburi Salmon bowl. Ours came straight out of the fridge, gladwrap off and onto the tray. The fish was okay, not fresh or stale but was a little over grilled. I would have liked to see the fish being grilled to order – but at least it was quick!
The dry and curry versions of the pork katsu with rice came with crispy crumbed pork that was still tender and juicy inside. If you like sauce over your rice, the curry version ticks that box.
The wagyu beef bowl with rice was tasty with a generous amount of soft beef and caramelised onion over a bed of rice.
The wagyu beef udon with runny, poached egg was delicious, with the thick, chewy noodles absorbing the flavourful, umami broth in every strand.
The spicy tonkotsu udon came with chunky soy-marinated pork meat and half a boiled egg. Chilli paste and chilli powder are heaped on the side to complete the spicy creation. Although the pork was a little tough, the spicy and sour notes of the chilli additions in the savoury tonkotsu broth would satisfy any spicy food lover.
You can’t go wrong ordering any of the udon mains. The house-made noodles are thick and chewy, the perfect fodder for soaking up the broth it sits in. Throw in a side or two and your stomach and wallet will be pretty content with the results.