It's a Friday night and I'm craving for Japanese food but I'm not in the mood to travel anywhere too far for it. I admit, I'm lazy but I want great food! Good thing my partner and I remember Manmaruya is only 10 minutes away! I give them a call when we're on our way just in case, like many other restaurants, they may be closed during holiday season. But lucky for us they are open and they inform me they close at 9.30pm.
We park a couple of blocks away from the restaurant, but we're not at a loss as it's still light and lovely to walk in. We've been to Manmaruya before and every time we get a table without any trouble. This evening we manage to just scrape the last table in the restaurant! It's full house. A few minutes after we sit down, customers are already waiting near the door (and when we finished, there were some waiting outside). It's a surprise, but it's definitely an indication that Manmaruya has picked up since we last had our meal there and it's here to stay!
I want something familiar and guaranteed satisfaction, so I choose terriyaki chicken bento box ($15.80). I know it's kind of boring and typical, I swear I'm not usually like this (I usually choose the dishes I know I can't make at home/requires skills of a chef)! Also, I wanted a bit of everything and you can never go wrong with a bento box! My partner chooses the pork katsu bento box ($15.80). Then at the spur of the moment, he also decides we should get agedashi tofu ($6.80). I don't complain because I’m a sucker for it!
The waitress takes our order, and she returns briskly with cold water that we requested. I look around the restaurant; diners are happily indulging into their bento boxes, ramens and sushi sets. It is only a short wait before our food arrives.
|Miso soup, included with each bento box|
The miso soup has good strong flavours and is at a good drinkable temperature. Even though I almost always burn my tongue when I drink miso soup, I would have preferred it to be slightly hotter.
|Agedashi tofu $5.80|
The agedashi tofu is presented in a cute hot pot. This is the first time I've seen it done this way but the pot is rather big in comparison to the amount of tofu (three pieces), which makes the portion seem small. Sauce is tasty and generous, and it has the gelatinous film on the skin of the deep fried tofu, which I always look for in agedashi tofu. Disappointingly, it is simply lukewarm in temperature and the tofu has not been deep-fried enough to be golden brown.
|Pork katsu bento box, $15.80|
Both of the bento boxes arrive and look generous and delicious. My partner enjoys the pork with its crispy batter, tasty but a bit fatty. I'm not a huge fan of pork (but am slowly converting) so I do not try it.
|Terriyaki chicken bento box, $15.80|
My terriyaki chicken is so tasty! It is covered with sticky and sweet terriyaki sauce, which is the perfect accompaniment with the white rice. They are cut into big pieces and are cooked perfectly so they are not at all dry. The two pieces of gyoza has a fair amount of filling in it, though I am not 100% of what protein it is. The seaweed salad is what you expect as I am guessing it is pre-made. The green salad is okay, the leaves are bitter. The three pieces of sashimi salmon are still cold when I eat them and the slice of lemon underneath also adds to the freshness. The salmon is fatty and sweet.
All in all, a very satisfying and comforting meal! Of all the things in the menu, I do believe the bento box has the most value and is very tasty! For our next visit to Manmaruya, we opt to try their sushi and sashimi since the three pieces of sashimi in the bento box was a great glimpse of their fresh fish!
Manmaruya Japanese Bar
193 Beamish Street