Do you feel like you’re eating the same old thing every day? Want to shake it up with something a bit unusual? With a branch in Fukuoka (福岡), you can now also head on down to Kumamoto’s (熊本) new restaurant, Manly Australian Cafe&Bar, to try some unusual items on their Australian-style menu. A popular choice for parties and corporate events, this place is guaranteed to provide you with a fantastic dining experience.
Along with the original store in Fukuoka, Manly opened its Kumamoto branch in 2015 and has been popular from the start. Named after Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia, the Kumamoto restaurant is furnished with a decorative surfboard, beach hut-style white washed wooden planks on the walls, and sandy colored furniture to really give the appearance of having walked off the street and straight out onto a beach. To add to the effect, the TV screen on the back wall has beach and surfing clips on loop to get you in the seaside mood.
There are some good deals on their lunch menu, but to get the full experience and to be able to choose from the wide variety of delicious and unusual dishes on offer, I recommend going at dinner time. It might be a good idea to look up the menu online before your visit – there are literally so many wonderful things to choose from that the decision requires careful consideration!
When you think of typical Australian cuisine, what springs to mind? Barbecues are probably the most famous, but in general, most people would be unable to name more than a handful of dishes. While Manly is certainly an Australian-style restaurant, I get the feeling that some of the more specialty dishes they serve would be a little out of the ordinary even in Oz.
Australian pies are well known and no Australian-style restaurant would be complete without them. At Manly, you can choose from spicy chicken pie, gravy pie, pie with a white cream sauce, Manly style cheese in meat pie, and of course, the sweet favorite, apple pie.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something bonkers, how about a steak of camel served with Japone sauce (sweet Japanese style)? Or if camels aren’t your thing, then how about carpaccio kangaroo with basil sauce? Their roast ostrich comes in a balsamic sauce or a Japanese style sauce – we tried the balsamic one and it was truly delicious. The meat was tender and flavorsome, perfectly accompanied by the sweet tang of the peppers and fruity sauce.
As for crocodile, there are plenty of different dishes to choose from: sautéed crocodile tongue with garlic, karaage style fried crocodile, fried crocodile wings, crocodile with vegetables and balsamic sauce, or a traditional dish with a unique spin – crocodile and chips.
In lieu of a traditional British favorite, we tried the crocodile and chips, served in a woven basket with newspaper lining the bottom. The chips were seasoned with herbs and the crocodile itself was delicious – more like fish than meat in texture. The meat was snowy white and a little chewy, sort of like scampi – coated in golden brown batter and served with tomato ketchup.
If you want something not quite so out of the ordinary, they have Australian beef steak for the meat lovers, and for the Anglophile, classic fish and chips. If you want something a little lighter, the avocado and shrimp salad looks delicious, as does the salad with Tasmanian smoked salmon. Grilled sausage with mashed potato is another popular choice.
Other “normal” dishes include salads, pasta (seafood, salmon, chicken, creamy, tomato, arrabbiata, anchovy, etc.), and pizzas (margarita, asparagus and bacon, chicken teriyaki), as well as some rice dishes.
For starters and side dishes, there are plenty to choose from – we sampled the ham-wrapped cream cheese which was simple but moreish. Other good options include the ham and mozzarella fritter, smoked duck breast, a plate of six sausages, beef jerky, and garlic toast. If you require something for afters, dessert includes the cake of the day, ricotta hotcakes with vanilla ice cream, various types of parfait, honey toast, and affogato (espresso and ice cream).
Price-wise, you would think that such unusual and exotic fares would cost a bomb, but Manly is actually very reasonably priced. Lunch options range from 750 yen to 1,350 yen for the more specialty items, and at dinner, prices are much the same. Starters and snacks range from 400 yen to 800 yen, salads for 750 yen to 1000 yen, and dishes such as fish and chips, steak, ostrich, crocodile, and kangaroo are priced from 800 yen to 1,700 yen. Delicious, though the portion sizes are a little small so it’s best to go with a group and order a couple of things to share.
There is also a wide variety of drinks available including imported specialties like Foster’s (500 yen), and Carlton Crown Lager (500 yen).
If you’re hosting a private party, have a look at the course deals on offer – a popular choice as the restaurant in Kumamoto is often booked out for private functions. You can order the Manly 8-course plan for 3,000 yen per person (or 4,000 yen to include all-you-can-drink), the Kangaroo 8-dish course for 2,500 yen per person (or 3,500 yen to include all-you-can-drink), or the Koala 8-dish course for 2,000 yen per person (or 3,000 yen to include all-you-can-drink). During the summer, they also have limited OZ BBQ courses.
Both the Kumamoto and Fukuoka branches of Manly are open from 12:00 pm to 1:00 am on Mondays to Fridays (last order at midnight) and from 11:30 am to 1:00 am on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays – lunch is served until 5:00 pm daily. On weekends and holidays, it is advised to book in advance as there is often a queue even at lunchtime. Pets are welcome in Manly, too.
The food at Manly is unlike anything else you’ll find in Kyushu – delicious, unique, and served in a very chilled-out, relaxing atmosphere.
There are two branches, but we will introduce one of them here.