It’s about time the Udon takes some Limelight!
We are talking serious udon business here at Manmaru. Set in Mid Valley City, Manmaru prepares the freshest and finest udon daily under the master culinary skills of their Japanese chefs. I first visited Manmaru when they opened late last year with my family and we all enjoyed the udon dishes a lot, especially my little one.
The outlet is designed with lots of light wood to exude a sense of comfort. There is an open kitchen so one can catch the kitchen actions. Walking into Manmaru during my first visit, we like the concept of self-serving where we queue, select our food and pay. It is the concept practice most in Japan. When we were there, the menu focused solely on udon dishes and tempura. I went back with another foodie and also enjoyed the udon a lot. Its comfort food prepared really well. Since I hardly step into Mid Valley City unless I need to, I had hope that Manmaru might just open up another outlet in another area where I would visit more often without the traffic commotion.
A recent visit with my foodie gang, I notice that Manmaru’s concept had changed. We asked about this and were told that it was a decision that they had to make due to the crowd and convenience. Young and elderly diners find the self-service harder and sometimes the queue takes too long with diners taking up too much time choosing their dishes. And so, diners can now enjoy the sit and order service. There is still the counter where one can help themselves to condiments and drinks.
The menu has also been updated, this time with over 30 varieties of udon dishes and lots more of appetizers, salad, tempura, yakimono, agemono and snacks. In addition, specials are always introduced often and the latest one we saw recently was the Lunch Bento promotion. The six of us came for the udon dishes but we got more than that!
Here goes another long journey of food…
Here goes another long journey of food…
Manmaru House Salad
I am surprised at the Manmaru House Salad in a good way! Fresh crisp greens are topped with a spicy chicken salad before being crowned with a mount of masago. The salad comes with chilled aromatic Japanese sesame dressing. Mix these all up and it’s a bright and light salad with a light spicy note. Besides this salad, there’s Soft Shell Crab Salad, Kani Fumi Salad, Yakiniku Salad, Chuka Lidako Salad and Kamo Salad.
I do happen to love dumplings and also kimchi. So when Kimchi Gyoza was paired up, I couldn’t be any happier. The Japanese dumplings or gyoza are cooked in a spicy kimchi broth with bits of kimchi and some spinach. It’s a fusion of Japanese with a Korean touch. Spicy, tangy and satisfying, this is pretty good.
They certainly got their eggs perfect to a tee the Japanese way. Soft boiled eggs with a glorified eggyolk porn centre, the eggs are marinated in soy sauce and chilled. It’s really hard to not love the Hanjuku Tamago when it is so perfect in texture and flavour!
The Kamo Carpaccio won many hearts that evening, so much so we had to order another one. Smoked duck breast sliced is topped with fried leeks, fresh onions, sprinkling of red pepper and served with a ponzu sauce. Each bite rendered a lovely citrus soy sauce flavours and a delicate oniony note.
Though its pretty much a norm dish, the Tempura Moriawase is beautifully coated with a thin and light crispy tempura batter and deep fried till golden brown. We got the usual two plump sweet prawns and some vegetables served with warm tempura sauce and grated radish which we enjoyed very much. One can also opt for White Fish Tempura, Yasai Tempura, Maitake Tempura and the next dish of Ebi Yasai Kakiage.
Ebi Yasai Kakiage
This one is so pretty! I can’t help but to wonder how they made this so delectable and pretty. The Ebi Yasai Kakiage is deep fried crispy baby shrimps with julienned vegetables in a thin tempura batter. It’s got peppers, pumpkins and carrots that rendered sweetness while the crispy baby shrimp is so yummy. I dipped this in the tempura sauce and it was so delicious. We reordered this one too!
Kani Tamago Mentai
Ok, so I love mentai. It’s like the best sauce invented with cod roe and mayonnaise. There’s a bit of a pungent fishy aroma but I love the salty fish flavour from the cod roe. Top this on Tamago studded with sweet crabmeat and the Kani Tamago Mentai makes a perfect appetizer anytime.
I didn’t had the grilled smelt pregnant fish since I wasn’t a fan but these were gone in a jiffy as the rest love this so much…
Soft Shell Crab Pizza
Here’s another fusion dish where pizza meets Japan. Japanese pizza is usually thin crust and topped with more distinctive Japanese ingredients. This one had crispy golden soft shell crab with tomato sauce, chopped bell peppers and onions, fried leeks, cheese and masago. Savor the Soft Shell Crab Pizza hot and its just as good as any Western pizza… maybe even better!
It’s really all about presentation in Japanese cuisine. The Ika Teriyaki is a large squid is partially cut into rings, grilled and glazed with a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce. It tasted as good as it looks with a nice smoky charred aroma.
Manmaru even has Takoyaki Balls in their menu. These are balls made from chopped cabbage and cuttlefish in a batter. After fried, it is topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, mayonnaise and a sticky sweet takoyaki sauce.
Ika Geso Karaage
These must be giant squids. The Ika Geso Karaage is squid tentacles breaded and deep fried till crispy. Its very well-seasoned and flavourful. Squeeze on some lemon juice and it is even better…
Whenever I see Tori Karaage on the menu, I always feel a need to order this. Chicken is marinated with ginger and garlic before its battered and fried to crispy juiciness. The Tori Karaage here is addictive as it is very nicely seasoned and is served with a salad on the side to balance up the heaviness of the fried chicken.
The Momo Teriyaki skewers of grilled chicken thigh with teriyaki sauce are fairly large in portion. Classic dish with nicely grilled chicken thigh that is juicy, sweet and savory with bell pepper and onions.
Paying homage to basic and classic udon is Kamaage Udon. Udon served Al-Dente in a wooden tub with warm kamaage sauce is meant for true food connoisseurs who are a stickler for authentic Japanese flavours. The udon noodles are warm and have a great chewy texture. Lightly dip this into the warm sesame soy sauce and enjoy the delicate flavours of fresh udon. Slurping is recommended for some authentic satisfaction!
Signature Supreme Udon
For those who need luxury added to their udon can take on the Signature Supreme Udon amped up with sliced abalone, prawn, scallop and broccoli. The broth is pretty divine and has a good depth of flavours with a creamy edge. The seafood essence is pretty much there and it’s a bowl of soothing notes with sweet seafood.
Soft Shell Crab Sesame Udon
I love this a lot. Cold chewy udon is served with the aromatic creamy sesame dressing and topped with a crispy deep fried soft shell crab. Its creamy, nutty and refreshing as there is a sense of lightness to the overall tasting notes. I think the chill factor makes this a lovely dish, almost like a salad. The crispy soft shell crab is nicely done and goes well with the udon in texture and flavour. Fried leeks and masago completed the dish.
Kamo Nanban Udon
The Kamo Nanban Udon is also another classic dish. Slices of smoked duck breast go very well with the bouncy udon and smoky meaty broth. Scallions added a nice onion note. This one is also very comforting and soothing as one slurps the noodles, enjoy the duck and its meaty broth.
Asari Seafood Nabe Udon
It may be unusual but I do like the spicy factor in this Asari Seafood Nabe Udon. It’s a dish meant for clam lovers. The broth has a lovely clam flavour and the light hint of spiciness only succeeds to take the flavours to another level.
Baked Cheese Curry Udon
Though it’s on the heavier side in the udon menu, I enjoyed the Baked Cheese Curry Udon very much. Maybe it’s because I love cheese. The udon is covered in a savory Japanese curry sauce and baked with a heavy sprinkling of cheese. It has a good dose of spices in the curry sauce and seemed to match the strong cheese very well. I also like how the udon remained chewy and al-dente even after its baked. I will order this on my next visit as I enjoyed the flavours of this dish very much which is unusual since I am not a fan of Japanese curry. The curry here is not sweet at all so its perfect for me.
Kuruma Ebi Udon
Someone commented that the Kuruma Ebi Udon tasted like our local Prawn Noodle. I agree as soon as I took a taste of the broth. There is a heavy essence of prawn in the stock and its nicely balanced with sweet and savory notes. The heavenly soft boiled eggs and giant prawn is a nice attraction to this dish.
Ishiyaki Eringi Udon
Served in a hot stone bowl, the Ishiyaki Eringi Udon has udon sautéed with a few types of mushrooms with the main one being eringi. It has a lovely garlicky note and the masago added a nice popping texture in the mouth. The stone bowl keeps this hot so one can enjoy it slowly.
Chicken Teriyaki Onsen Tamago Udon
Our last udon dish of the night and it was the Chicken Teriyki Onsen Tamago Udon. Following pursuit of the craze for a soft boiled egg to be mixed into the noodles to create a luscious silky texture, this one is another winner. The egg created the sauce while the teriyaki sauce added a nice charm to it. The chicken is grilled nicely while the seaweed added another nice note.
Even with all the above dishes, there are still so much more choices of udon and other dishes in Manmaru. The team at Manmaru has a knack for perfecting all their dishes which is hard to do considering that there is so much variety here. Prices seem fair for the quality and portion. Dining at Manmaru won’t break a hole in your wallet and you get a good sense of satisfaction and comfort!
S-045A, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2201 1663
*More photos available at my Facebook: Chasing Food Dreams