Manpuku, Chatswood

Chatswood is always a trek for us, so D, N, T and I headed to Manpuku with my birth­day as the excuse.

T is keen for the Agetama (2p, $4.50). The descrip­tion of ‘deep-fried eggs with sweet and sour soy sauce’ is accur­ate, with the eggs just a touch before being hard-boiled. While lightly battered and deep-fried, the res­ult­ing tex­ture is not crispy but soft as it basks in the soy sauce. D and I are fans of the deli­ciously tangy and more­ish umami fla­vour of the sauce that paired well with the eggs.

N picks the Manpuku Rice ($3.90), which is ‘pork belly, mushed egg, bean sprouts, shal­lots, ses­ame, may­on­naise and ter­iyaki sauce’. She was curi­ous about ‘mushed egg’, which turns out to be just ‘mashed egg’. The fla­vour of the bowl is very heavy on the may­on­naise, with the fla­vour dom­in­at­ing each bite unne­ces­sar­ily.

As for the ramen, D tries the Gyokai Black ($15.90), a ‘soy-based pork soup with a hint of fish and gar­lic fla­vour’ con­sist­ing of ‘pork belly, bean sprouts, shal­lots, kukur­age sliced mush­room, ses­ame, sea­weed sheet, nit­amago eggs’. It comes with ‘premi­um dry noodle’, but D’s sens­it­iv­ity to bit­ter fla­vours means he’s not a fan of the bit­ter taste from the gar­lic, which comes through much more prom­in­ently than as a ‘hint’.

I’m still on a miso-ramen exped­i­tion so this is the Miso ($15.30), a miso-based pork and chick­en soup with ‘pork belly, baby pak choi, bam­boo shoot, shal­lots, sea­weed sheet, nit­amago egg’. The noodles are medi­um straight and the soup is described as hav­ing ‘a deli­cious miso fla­vour you’re unlikely to encounter else­where in the Southern Hemisphere’.

The miso fla­vour here was much more bal­anced in its savoury fla­vour than the one at Yasaka Ramen, but still lacks the more­ish qual­ity that I enjoy from the one at Ramen Goku. That said, the noodles have a deli­cious bite and take on just enough of the soup to make them the per­fect vehicle. I’ve not had noodles I enjoy more else­where.

We fin­ish with Taiyaki ($3.00), a ‘fried pan­cake with red bean paste’.

Unlike ordin­ary taiyaki, these are deep-fried. Perhaps the oil they use isn’t hot enough, but these have a very oily mouth­feel with a doughy tex­ture, although the sweet­ness of the red bean is enjoy­able.

I’m still not a ramen con­vert, but Manpuku is def­in­itely at the top of the game when it comes to ramen in Sydney.

Manpuku is loc­ated at 226 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067.