416 979 6763 | $2-$12 dishes
I eat in the The Village by the Grange at Dundas and McCaul pretty frequently. If you’ve never been, the food court inside this ‘mall’ is full of independent vendors serving mostly ethnic-specific foods and very few chains. What I learned recently is that there’s actually a sit-down Japanese restaurant inside called Manpuku that’s supposed be pretty tasty. So in I went. Here’s a mini-review.
The menu here is separated into noodle dishes, rice dishes and specials. There’s also a separate ‘assorted menu' for some reason. Not really sure why it's not part of the main menu…guess they don't fit nicely into a category? I don't know.
Since it was lunch and cold, most of us had bowls of udon noodle soup. The niku soup (above) with a good portion of tender sliced beef is tasty and a good deal at $5.99 given the big bowl. The kake udon is an even better deal at $3.99 coming with fishcakes and diced scallops in a slightly smaller bowl. Both good noodle soups.
I ordered the negitama gyudon, a rice dish topped with sliced beef, lots of green onion and an almost barely cooked egg. I was expecting a taste closer to bibimbap but for some reason, the beef seasoning kept bringing me back to shepherd’s pie. It was warm, hearty, and filling. Win.
I also started with some Ohitashi (cold spinach in a light dressing with bonito flakes). It was pretty bitter, chilled, and the bonito flakes added that fishy flavour. I’d classify this as an acquired taste, meaning I didn’t really like it.
We ended with what everyone says to try: Takosen. Apparently this is a popular Japanese street food, whereby Takoyaki balls (octopus dumplings) are squished between two crackers with mayo and a sweet sauce. Texturally, it’s pretty interesting and squishing the dumpling is just plain fun. You also get three of these for $3!
Service and Ambience
When you walk in, it looks kind of like a diner, with a big bar and the kitchen right behind it. Seating is also pretty limited, so get here a bit early during lunch hour.
One of the great things about our brief drop-in was the service. Our server was really pleasant and attentive throughout and she helped accommodate the four of us during the busy lunch hour despite needing to move around some tables. Much appreciated.
There are two main reasons to drop in here: good value and unique dishes. The menu presents a few choices that appear to be quite authentic and difficult to come by, and you can try a bunch of them on a budget. Enjoy.
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Apr 27, 2012