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Manpuku - new Japanese fast food at Village by the Grange

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Just found this place today...it's been open for a week in the former spot where Al's Fish & Chips used to be. Seems authentic with Japanese staff and a small menu that includes rarely found items like yakionigiri (rice ball with different fillings grilled with miso or soy sauce), several udons (including curry udon), ochazuke, and for the very adventurous there's even natto gohan (fermented beans mixed with okra, Japanese yam, served over rice)!!

Couldn't try anything today since I found this place just after eating a roti from Island Foods.....has anyone tried Manpuku yet???

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  1. I just went to Manpuku and wanted to report.

    This place is quite good.

    No sushi at this place. They do modern, Japanese "fast food". I had the $5.99 curry udon, which was a bunch of udon noodles generously slathered in a deliciously rich light brown (slightly yellow) Japanese curry sauce, with potatoes, carrots, and onions. I could have had beef (included in the price), but I decided to do a vegetarian lunch. It was accompanied by a separate bowl of soyish broth.

    Had I wanted to eat more, a side of the stuffed rice balls sounded really good too.

    They have been open for 1.5 weeks. The owners are friendly, and are doing a great job. I recommend this place.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fwagra

      Modern Japanese fast food... What else does it serve there ? The Japanese curry udon is very ordinary.

      1. re: Fwagra

        What's the address? I thought it was across from OCAD but I couldn't find it.

        1. re: jtamin

          it's in the village by the grange complex on the south side of the food court to the west. i think it might be the only enclosed food stop.

      2. It's become my new addiction. It's amazing how beautiful this space looks now from its previous incarnation.

        I like eating their takoyaki. A lot. There's something really nice about eating hot and fresh takoyaki right from the "takoyaki-maker". It just goes down way too easy. I'm also enjoying their takosen, which is a takoyaki between 2 senbei. It gives a really nice textural contrast between the crunchy crackers and a more yielding takoyaki.

        I also like their shigure don because the beef is so thinly sliced that you almost don't have to chew it! I usually don't bother with such beef dishes in restaurants but I make the exception here.

        I also have to mention that the short-grain rice here is one of the best rice I've ever had and this is someone who's been eating rice all her life and varying qualities.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Skwerly

          sorry I have to disagree with you.

          The short grain rice is totally NOT a very good type, if you have bought something in the price range of around 20 CAD (15 lb), you will know the difference. I had the curry don, the curry sauce is really so-so, too watery and too little beef. The pricetag of 6.99 is a bit too much (J town has better curry and rice combo).

          The only thing I like is the Takosen. It is very creative and I like the taste of it.

          My hubby had the wakame udon, which I think is good too (4.99).

          We had a trial of the miso soup, which is better than a lot of japanese restaurant because a lot of vegetables and more miso is used for sure. But does it worth 1.99 for a bowl of miso soup? I don't think so. The best is just to order udon combo (choose takosen and miso soup).

        2. this is far from modern japanese fast food, fast food yes but modern no.

          only really tried two things. one being the takosen and the other an udon.... the one with the fish paste slices.

          their takoyaki maker is "automatic" meaning that after an initial reconfiguring of the takoyaki it jiggles them around for the staff until finished. the overall structure of the takoyaki is left to be much more imperfect than when rolled by hand. noticeably, the batter is much thicker and has a slight "grain" to it with no good sized chunks of octopus. it's only ok in flavour.

          the use of the senbei was something i saw all over osaka, so therefore not new but i really like the senbei. also appreciated the restraint for the mayo. it was $2.99 for 3 pieces.

          udon had a decent broth for toronto and for $3.99. totally appreciate the $1.10 for extra noodles (it's a hearty extra portion). not extremely remarkable but acceptable in the fast food category. i think the cheap prices may bring me back.

          love their logo!

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            oh yes...i forgot to mention i hardly notice the octopus in the takosen.

            I have never been to Kansai area so I don't know about the takosen, but definitely i haven't seen in Kanto area.

            the combo made it a better deal for the takosen then, basically just add 2 bucks and I can choose 2 items (soup/salad/takosen/chips) and that's 2 pieces of takosen.

            IMO, only the udon/takosen worths the pricetag.

            1. re: phylao

              I have tried the combo (beef rice bowl, soup and takosen), think the deal is not too bad, it will be better if there are more beef in it. Soup is nice, full of sweetness from vegetable with a mild miso taste, steaming hot which I really like as I hate Japanese restaurant serves half-hot-half-warm soup. I much prefer this beef rice bowl over the one at Konnichiwa which is very close by, the beef is just too rough there. The takosen is so-so, it is too loose, can only taste the loose batter, hardly found any octopus, lack of flavour, but is something new (what they call 'modern' ?) in Toronto.

              Service is friendly as other mentioned, I quite like this eatery, it is different from other Japanese restaurants in Toronto. Hope we will have more places like this.

          2. Their first little display ad in the "Bits" magazine shows these 6 items(supposedly unique and/or they are good at making): kitsune udon, soup, yaki onigiri, takoyaki, natto gohan and shigure don

            In Japan, they have takosen plain, with cheese, with egg, etc..
            http://www.da-da.jp/maikeru/takoyaki/...

            1 Reply
            1. re: beepbeep

              After couple visits, I have to say that most food items appear to be pre-made early during the day. That's just the nature of the food they serve. It's a fast food place with a comfortable dining room. It's neither bad nor good.

            2. Tried this place out today and liked how clean and nice-looking the place was. The only thing I didn't like about the otherwise prompt and friendly service was how they handed us our bill before we finished eating. They did say, "No rush.", but still...

              As for the food, I like how they're offering "different" Japanese food. As much as I love my sushi and teriyaki, it's refreshing to see food that feels like something straight out of a Japanese home kitchen. I had the curry udon, which I liked a lot. The broth was flavorful but light, the noodles pleasantly chewy. It would have been nice to have more of the beef, though (I also found it funny how my tastebuds seem to get confused because they detect the taste of curry but nothing of the rice, coconut, creamy or gravy-like consistency which they have learned to associate with it.).

              I'm no expert on takoyaki, but I found myself enjoying the ones I had. I remember hating and avoiding them when I was a kid and I was relieved that they weren't as "fishy" as I was expecting them to be. Next time, I'll try the takosen. And I know that I'll go against the popular vote, but I really don't like bonito flakes.

              Overall, I feel like this is going to be one of my favorites in the area. The food is good and cheap. I have no problem with places having a limited menu as long as they do everything well, but I'm hoping they'll make good on what their menu promises about the onigiri having "different types of fillings" (they only had seaweed) and having a variety of cake slices and pudding flavors to choose from (they only had one of each).

              1. Does anyone know what their hours are? Do they stay open later than the mall?

                1 Reply
                1. re: num nums

                  monday - wednesday: 10-8pm
                  thursday - friday: 10-11pm
                  saturday: 11-11pm

                2. Just back from lunch at Manpuku. I'm a fan... really hot food, good service and prices and clean-looking....I will be a repeat customer. Unlike others, I would not classifiy this as "fast food"...I reserve that term for self-serve food court eateries (which surround this place). This place has its own enclosed space and seating and you are served by wait staff.

                  1. Finally found this place. Yes the staff are very friendly. I will go back to try out the other dishes. I would just like a little vending machine outside the shop that prints out tickets for food, to complete the Japanese feel :)

                    1. The curry udon was tasty

                      1. So, finally had a chance to check this place out after almost a month and a half of procastination!

                        My bf and I went on Saturday night around 10:30-ish after getting out of a movie and they looked like they were about to close up. We were told that they were done making takoyaki for the night but I told Sid (the owner) that they were the main reason I came (with a smile, of course) and so he said he would do it.

                        So, our snack:

                        we had the kitsune udon, which i really liked. the udon was really fresh (apparently the flash freeze it and ship it weekly from Japan) and the broth was really tasty. i cant wait to go back to try the curry udon.

                        the takoyaki was, as someone mentioned, a little "loose". like a little too soft and creamy in the middle? it's a little hard to pick up with your chopsticks without completely smushing it. however, it was still very tasty. it would be even better with more octopus chunks in the middle.

                        since we were the only ones there, sid came to talk to us a bit about his business, his machine and the way they prepare the foods and their ingredients. he's really nice to talk too. he also showed us the new menu items they have, like icecream takoyaki and a rice burger. he also gave us a sample of a cookie they were working on, which was green tea with white chocolate chunks...can't wait till he starts selling them because it was TASTY!

                        in all, i loved it and i cant wait to go back to try the other udon options.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: pinkprimp

                          I like this place for the udon & rice.
                          I don't care too much for the takoyaki. It's too 'loose' & lack of octopus.
                          The udon is made on the premises. The curry is very tasty, full of sweetness of veg.
                          The servers are very friendly.

                          1. re: ace123

                            I prefer the udon at this place, it is smooth, better than many places in Toronto. Try their curry, not quite like it though.

                            They need to improve on their rice too, just like someone above said, the quality is bad. And the way they cook their rice is bad too.

                            Good Japanese rice when properly cooked, each "fat and short" rice should be standing up bright, you should be able to separate each one which chopstick. However, at Manpuku, it is unevenly cooked, too wet on some of it, no form and all stick together like a mess, which ruin the whole thing.

                            1. re: skylineR33

                              I would like to try Japanese curry in other places. Would you recommand a few pls? Thanks a lot.

                              1. re: ace123

                                I personally find there are too many granule potato in Manpuku's Japanese curry rice bowl which make it too starchy for my taste. I prefer the curry pork chop (tonkatsu) at J-town. Also, the one at Cafe Michi is quite good from my memory.

                                1. re: skylineR33

                                  Thanks for the reply.
                                  I've been to J-Town & Cafe Michi but never try their curry.
                                  I'll go there soon.

                            2. re: ace123

                              The owner told me that he flies over the udon from Japan each week.

                              1. re: pinkprimp

                                The lady there told me they made their own udon.
                                Anyways, it's much better than other places no matter where it's from.

                                1. re: ace123

                                  Agreed!

                                  :)

                          2. Just went for lunch today and had the curry udon. Very nice, with a flavourful and sweet broth and excellent noodles. I'll have to try to go back with friends to sample a broader selection of the menu, but overall I think it's quite worthy.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: neilio

                              Just went for lunch yesterday and ordered a pork udon. It was delicious! The broth was very flavourful, maybe a tiny tad salty for me, but was nice and sweet. The noodles tasted very fresh and springy. It was awesome to have hot noodle soup on a cool day like yesterday. I also ordered their takoyaki. The interior was way too mushy for my liking. Not sure if Takoyaki is normally supposed to be mushy in the middle. The few times I have had it in Toronto elsewhere, it was always a little mushy in the middle, but this place was the mushiest of them all so far. I'm not sure if it is normal for it to be mushy in the middle. If that's the case, I think it's just not for me.
                              Noodles were good value for it's price. Nice and cute looking eating place. I would go back to try other things.

                              1. re: babybluepowder

                                it shouldn't be mushy but wet because it is a not fully cooked batter, just enough slow cooking to create a decent shell. i found manpuku's to be too grainy of a batter but that's a long time ago so i'm not sure if they've improved that aspect.

                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                  I went back to this restaurant last weekend. I couldn't resist from re ordering the pork udon again. It was as good as the last time I had it. I drank most of the broth afterwards too :P I shared a ochazuke with friend and it was so tasty and yummy! I'm going to have to order that the next time I'm there. My husband doesn't usually rave about food much but he couldn't stop raving how good his curry udon was. He wanted to go back the next day, which we didn't so he has been bringing it up now and then. So I curious about trying the curry next time. Can't wait.

                                  1. re: babybluepowder

                                    I really like this place a lot. We eat there regularly. Hits my trifecta of eating - cheap, good, close. I really like the new Inari pockets. It's just rice in a tofu pocket, but it's taaasty. I have a shot of it up on the blog I liked it that much!

                                    --
                                    http://www.foodpr0n.com -- food. is. love.

                                    -----
                                    Manpuku
                                    105 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                            2. visited this week.

                              had the yakionigiri. there was very little tuna in it, but i understand this dish is about the rice. i would have preferred more browning, but it was slightly crisp on the outside and heated through to the inside. the patties held together even when dipped in soy.

                              had the takoyaki. i specifically asked for well-done/well-cooked. server told me it would be about 20 minutes, and it took almost exactly that time to arrive. they were very wet and soft inside, in fact i'd say runny, with the barest of thin cooked shell layer outside to hold the things together. on the plus side, there was a good size piece of octopus in each ball. the dough/batter basically fell apart immediately in your mouth, leaving you with the toothsome octopus to finish.

                              i haven't had these items anywhere else, so have nothing to compare them with yet.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ta0126

                                I had a good set of takoyaki at Manpuku about a year ago. If I remember correctly, Manpuku was a little more generous with the octopus than Kenzo, but Kenzo's batter was done a little better. However, I had them many months apart and I lack photos to jog my memory...so I can't say for sure. I've also had their Ochazuke which I enjoyed. The portions are small but the prices are low - so I like it this way! I can order a couple of things, so I can sample more without busting my student budget

                                Erin
                                http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.com/

                                -----
                                Kenzo
                                138 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON , CA

                                Manpuku
                                105 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                              2. Does anyone know if they have hayashi rice?