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May 6, 2008 06:14 PM

Manpuku - new Japanese fast food at Village by the Grange

Just found this place'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. The original comment has been removed
            1. 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..

              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.