Singapore welcomes another unagi specialty restaurant, this time, the first one to come from overseas. Unagiya Ichinoji (known as Miyagawa Honten in Japan), has a whopping 125 years of history in Tokyo! It first started off at Tsukiji in Tokyo, but has now expanded to 20 outlets across the country. In fact, this Singapore branch is also the first international outlet of this restaurant chain.
With Man Man Unagi and Uya Singapore being the stronghold for unagi restaurants in Singapore, will this new entrant shake up the scene? Let’s find out!
You can watch the chefs work their magic through the glass, where their grilling techniques and temperature control of the charcoal grill are integral in the successful recipe, which has been passed down for four generations! The eels are prepared in the same original method as the outlets in Japan, where they are first steamed then grilled.
Seiro Mushi ($19.80++) is a dish that originates from Yanagawa, Fukuoka, and now is an item on the menu unique to the Singapore branch. The slab of unagi is first charcoal grilled, then steamed in a bamboo steamer together with kinshi egg and Hokkaido rice mixed with moreish sweet sauce for five minutes before serving. What you’ll get is the original flavours of the eels. The set also comes with unagi chawanmushi.
The Mamushi Donburi ($18.80++) is also another Singapore-exclusive dish. Served with mentaiko, kinshi eggs, onsen egg, and Japanese yam on the side, this set is my personal favourite. Mix all the ingredients up and you get a very flavourful combination, elevated by the mentaiko and yam.
The more common way of enjoying unagi is the Hitsumabushi, ranging from sizes S ($19.80++) to XL ($77.80++) which is the one here. It can feed 3-4 people.
Hitsumabushi is Nagoya’s style of serving unagi, and there are three ways to eat it. First, divide the bowl into four portions. The first portion is to be eaten on its own and to savour the eel’s depth of flavour. Second, add the seaweed, wasabi and green onion to the rice and eel. Third, add the clear dashi to the abovementioned mix. And the last portion is for you to enjoy it however way you like!
The eels are marinated with sansho and kuro shichimi (seven black spices) that are specially imported from Kyoto. They are provided on every table so you can add more of it into your rice and eel for a stronger flavour.
So what’s the verdict? Personally, I feel that Unagiya Ichinoji stands out in its affordable price point. It’s definitely the most value for money out of the three! However, I felt the unagi here is a bit too soft for my liking. I’d expected it to be slightly more crisp and charred, especially after going through the charcoal grilling. But that said, this is my personal opinion, and tastes and preferences are subjective. I’d recommend the Mamushi Donburi nevertheless!
It’s a 34-seater restaurant, but reservations are available on weekdays from Monday to Friday.
Address: Riverside View, #01-05, Robertson Quay, Singapore 238251
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
Telephone: +65 6732 1970