Manpuku is a ramen restaurant and one of the most highly rated in Sydney, let alone Chatswood.
It’s situated a fair distance from the main bulk of shops on the main strip of shops in Chatswood but it’s worth the drive (or walk).
Like most other casual dining Japanese restaurants, there’s a self-serve area for water and other condiments with tips on which ones go best according to the soup base.
To start, this is the Octopus Karaage ($7.90). The serving was average, on the small side, and each piece was a bit oily. That aside, the octopus itself was tender and fresh, with a light batter, although they could’ve used longer in the fryer as they weren’t quite crispy and the bigger pieces were rather rubbery and slimy.
D tries their ‘long name ramen’ otherwise called Kono Deaini Kanshashite Aijyou to Jyounetsu Komete Issyoukenmei Tsukutta Uchirano Icchan Sukina Manpuku Shiawase ($14.90). It’s their speciality ramen using a soy-based pork and chicken soup with wavy noodles, pork belly, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, shallots, seaweed sheet and nitamago egg.
Not many ramen restaurants mix pork and chicken soup in their broth but here it gives the richness of pork-based broths with the clarity of chicken-based broths. While slightly on the salty side, the noodles had a toothsome bite with tender and juicy slices of pork belly. The serving of noodles here is generous and D did not feel the need to order extra noodles as he does at Ippudo.
This is the Yuzu Shio ($16.90), a salt based chicken soup with medium straight noodles, bamboo shoot, nitamago eggs, chashu, coriander, shallot, lime, seaweed sheet, yuzu chips and yuzu paste.
I find it hard to pass up anything with yuzu in it, and here the yuzu flavour provides a fresh citrus note to the broth that’s well complemented by the fragrant coriander notes that bring a SE Asian twist to ramen. The noodles again are a generous portion and have an enjoyable toothsome bite with the chashu being tender and thickly cut, while the bamboo shoots added a welcome crunch to the bowl.
The addition of the yuzu paste (above) brought the pleasant heat of chilli while retaining the brightening the yuzu flavour further in the broth (already flavoured with yuzu chips).
Ramen is still not something I turn to for comfort like it is for many, but along with the bowls at Ramen Bar Goku, the ramen I’ve had Manpuku easily slips into my top two ramen spots with both having attentive and friendly service.
Manpuku is located at 226 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067.