I love noodle soups, especially asian varieties (Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian - you get the idea), so I was looking forward to trying this place, especially after reading good things about it. I was looking forward to trying the takoyaki. When I ordered I was told that the takoyaki would take over 25 minutes to prepare. I thought that was stange as it's supposed to be a specialty.
So I had the kake udon. It was a huge disappointment. The broth was flavourless. I has to add tons of soy sauce and shichimi-togarashi to get an flavour at all. The toppings were basically non-existant. A few bits of tempura, green onion, and the biggest joke of all, two tiny slices (i mean about 0.5 mm thick) of the fish cake. The udon was good which didn't really matter because these was so little flavour in the broth.
I will be back to try the takoyaki, but never again their noodle soup. It sucked.
Shame... I've tried pretty much all the other udon variations there and found them to be quite good. The curry udon has the most flavour; I also like the rice variation of that dish. Usually their standard line is 10-15 mins for the takoyaki... must have been an unusually busy day.
In general I've found the food there to be pretty decent with generous portions and a good price. But it's not a place I'd travel across the city for: more of a friendly neighbourhood place if you live nearby. I say give it another go if you get a chance.
it is not excellent, which is unfortunate because i would love for it to be better but it's passable because i find the price relatively cheap and in line with what i get. i don't ever feel gouged by them.
there are a few things on the menu better than others though and as long as you don't dream of that takoyaki from the streets of osaka or tokyo.. you'll probably do fine. i'm often there for a quick take-out dinner snack and found the onigiri to be one of the best bets. they're fresh warm but have the plastic wrap around the nori with the 1-2-3 pull tab instructions to keep it crisp and the salmon filling might be meagre but i like how they mix in bonito and seasame seeds into the rice itself. quite large and hearty.... 2 for $2.99 is hard to beat!
as for the udon, the broth could take a pass but i usually indulge in the extra noodle option as i find their udon usually well textured.
Heh. I thought I went on an off day, since it was the night of the AGO opening to the public...but guess not.
I loved it the first time I went so I was excited to go back that night. My takoyaki was still REALLY mushy-raw inside (it was soft the first time I had it but this was beyond soft) and when I finally flagged someone down to point this out, she just told me, "that's how we make it." Yeeeeeah. BF and I didn't finish it.
Also, when ordering, I asked a server about the filling in the onigri and she told us salmon. When I bit into it, it was DEFINETLY tuna. Really, dry canned tuna at that.
I will say that I love the texture of the udon, but I doubt I will be rushing back anytime soon.
The takoyaki isn't really great. I think there should be one big piece of octopus inside each ball, but at Manpuku there are more like small pieces. Curry udon is what I would go for, it is pretty decent and not many places (if any?) in TO that serve it...
I admit I go there only half because of the food, and half because I like to support those small, specialized ethnic food places, because we don't have enough of them in TO :)
I actually didn't like the curry udon. I tried it because there was a thread a while back saying how delicious it was. When I got it, it was a VERY watered down soup (I know that Japanese curries aren't as strong as Indian, etc.) and there was no meat! When I asked, they just said they ran out for the night (it was the AGO night). Should've told me before or charge less or give me more vegetables!
Maybe I'm just crabby because I have exams soon...lol
It was mushy raw? The 2nd time I had the takoyaki there (about a week ago? after the AGO opening, anyway), it was strangely firm. All previous takoyaki I've had has been on the softer, melty side.
I had the curry udon there and really enjoyed it. It is less curry flavour than I would like, but then again, I am unreasonably fond of curry. I was surprised by how much meat was in it. The meat-to-soup ratio was higher than you'd get in most noodle soups around town. The udon noodles themselves are very nice.
I always have a good bowl of noodles at Manpuku. Seems a couple people with negative experiences here went on a night where they got absolutely killed with orders. In light of that fact, I would give them a second chance.
They also have their winter menu up which includes Oden (coming soon as of the last time I was there), a killer grilled chicken miso udon, and salami curry, among other things.
As for the broth at Manpuku I think it's sufficient for what it is and it's also their style. Some are mild, and some are strong, but I don't think any of them suck. In general, Udon broth is very rarely supposed to be strong and for traditional Kake Udon you usually only get one small slice of Kamaboko. But who knows, I wasn't eating your bowl of noodles and maybe the broth really was bland with paper thin slices of Kamaboko. All I can attest to is that I eat there two to three times per week and for the type of restaurant they are I have never had a subpar bowl of Udon.
re: Notorious P.I.G.
I haven't had everything there, but I've been quite a few times and the udon is pretty good for the most part. Certainly not the best udon I've ever had, but probably the best I've had in Toronto that wasn't homemade.
Their takoyaki is another story though. Everytime I've had it, it has either been over or undercooked.
Yeah, I would agree with that overall. If I'm in the mood for a sweeter broth I will go with Ematei's Udon, but for the most part I would say that between Manpuku and Ematei there's not a better bowl to be had unless homemade.
I don't usually get the Takoyaki there. I find it to be kind of pedestrian as far as Takoyaki goes.
we were there a couple of weeks ago. Curry udon, beef udon and the takoyaki.
Lots of food for not very much money, and to me tastes a lot like homemade.
A lot of times in Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese home cooking, the broths used are fairly "plain" tasting.
The takoyaki I would have liked to be firmer; it was oozing soft and pretty much liquid on the inside. I guess that's the way they do it. Tasted pretty good though