3/146, Sunnynook Road, Sunnynook, Auckland
I’ve heard about this place purely by word of mouth. When I got there, it caught me by surprise because for a place with zero advertising done, the place was packed full of people. Manoah is a Japanese restaurant, specializing in their Katsu dishes in particular. But we can’t say that it’s purely Japanese, as it’s run by Koreans who build the menu around Korean-favourite katsu.
Facebook | Cafe Manoah
Manoah was originally a cafe in Whangaparaoa that served coffee and classic brunch menus like our good old eggs benedict. On the side, they also had their Japanese dishes, including a variety of sushi rolls, bentos and donburis. I don’t go long back with the Manoah crew so I’m not sure of their full history, but rumours say that after their move to Sunnynook in North Shore (suburb evidently much higher in Korean population) they’ve focused more on the Japanese cuisine than coffee. This was because the 'katsu,' which wasn’t exactly the highlight menu, got great reviews from the Shore's Korean customers! For the sake of all the people searching for their “heavenly katsu,” now Manoah calls themselves a “premium katsu eatery”.
Facebook | Cafe Manoah
Here’s their most recent menu, the one I saw on my visit. They have three different katsu menus (normal, miso, and curry) each with a variety of types of meat, seafood, and most importantly, CHEESE. Manoah’s Cheese Katsu was the one that got the whole restaurant’s fame, as it’s our favourite type of Korean katsu. Although the dish “katsu” is originally from Japan, you know that Korea’s good with turning all dishes Korean-styled 😏 As a country crazy-about cheese, Koreans stuffed a bulk of mozzarella cheese in a fat Tonkatsu (Pork katsu) to give the dish a pleasant twist. I, of course, had to order the Cheese Katsu ($25) and add a side curry to it, and my friend ordered the Miso Pork Loin Katsu ($19).
At first glance, you might think that four pieces of cheesy meat is not much for $25 - especially since Korean restaurants usually offer much more affordable options. But trust me, it will fill you up. The crispy outer layer had a satisfying contrast to the nicely warmed soft mozzarella and the juicy pork loin. It tasted exactly like the cheese katsu that I had back in Korea, which made sense why the Koreans at the Shore were so excited about this place.
You get cabbage salad, rice, miso soup, and homemade pickles with your main. You also get truffle salt, wasabi, mustard, and tonkatsu sauce to pick and choose which seasoning you want with your fried dish. Normally, if I had a pork loin katsu my pick would’ve been wasabi (MUST TRY), but since I had a Cheese Katsu I tried it with salt, then with the sauce, then by itself - I liked it best by itself! Little FYI, I don’t think the side curry ($3) was that necessary 😶
Now we know why we take friends to restaurants with us, to order a number of different food and try them all! 😂 The main Katsu menus seem to be the more gourmet ones with thicker meat to them, and the curry and miso katsu are thinner - probably the reason for the price difference! Since my friend ordered a Miso Pork Loin Katsu, the sweet & savoury misodare sauce was already pasted on the katsu, served on a sizzling dish to keep it warm. It also came with a side of cabbage salad, rice, miso soup, and Manoah’s homemade pickles. The miso sauce was a little strong on my and my friend’s taste but went perfectly with the bowl of rice 👏
As a foodie roaming around Auckland searching for good food, Manoah was a delightful place to visit! Especially after the Korean/Japanese Katsu restaurant Kubik at Queen St disappeared, my friends and I were craving a good katsu for a while. If you wanna find out more about this hidden katsu gem in Sunnynook, make sure you check their opening hours below before visiting!
|11:30 AM - 3 PM
|TUE - SAT
|11:30 AM - 3 PM / 5 PM - 8:30 PM