The question most people will ask is, “So Man Man better or Uya?”

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant at Keong Saik Road has been attracting long lines (I queued for 1.5 hours), especially after its Michelin Bib Gourmand win.

It is known for its Hitsumabushi (Unagi Don with spices and dashi), piled with pieces of crispy grilled eel which are cut live in the kitchen.

Uya 四代目菊川 located at level 2 of Wheelock Place, aims to offer affordable and authentic Japanese traditional unagi cuisine to the masses in Singapore.

With the offering of Hitsumabushi bowls as well, the comparison between the two will be inevitable.

This restaurant is a partnership between Yuhei Kikukawa and Shin Foods PL.

Yuhei Kikukawa is the fourth generation family head of Nakasho Shoten Ltd (wholesaler of unagi for over 90 years) and the owner of some Japanese restaurants in Nagoya.

On the other side, Shin Foods PL is the company behind Shunjuu Izakaya, Koji Sushi Bars (known for their affordable chirashi bowls), and Satsuma Shochu Dining Bar.

The eels at Uya are said to be selected to ensure the ideal quality in colour, plumbness and tenderness.

You cannot see the killing of the eels here, though you can peek through the small window where the eel livestock is kept and grilling takes place.

The tare used is made using a sauce base that has been a family secret for over 4 generations and was specially brought over from Japan to Singapore.

The price of the Hitsumabushi Set is at $35++ for the medium, and $48++ for large. In contrast, the large Hitsumabushi is priced at $26.80+ and $35.80+ (without service tax) at Man Man.

I ordered the medium, and somehow the unagi pieces did not look as crisp or brown as those I have seen in photos.

So while the unagi was of reasonably good quality, it lacked that slight char and smokiness one would come expecting.

The good thing is, those who find Man Man’s version too sweet, could prefer this as you can savour more of the natural flavours of the eel.

The grain used is 100% Koshihikari rice imported directly from Niigata prefecture in Japan, though I was expecting this to be fluffier.

Overall, I reckon this got to do more with consistency issues rather than teething, as I was possibly the only customer in the restaurant then.

To me, two other major draws of Man Man would be the freshly grated wasabi and variety of sauces provided. Uya uses the ‘normal’ green wasabi that most casual sushi restaurants would offer.

People would be drawn to Uya because they would be curious enough, and it is conveniently located in town.

Those who don’t fancy unagi at all have the options of other items such as the Sashimi Rice Bowl ($23), Rare Wagyu Rice Bowl ($27), Tempura Rice Bowl ($23), and Vegetable Tempura Rice Bowl ($18).

Minor problem and not an issue to most diners I assume, because I had time to look around the restaurant while waiting, I suspect Uya would need to change their lighting (at least in the main dining room) very soon.

Uya 四代目菊川
501 Orchard Road, #02-15/16 Wheelock Place, Singapore 238880 (Orchard MRT)
Tel: +65 6732 1096
Opening Hours: Lunch 12pm – 3pm Last Order 2:30pm;
Dinner 6pm – 9:30pm Last Order 9pm (Sun – Thurs), 6pm – 10pm Last Order 9:30pm (Fri – Sat)

Other Related Entries
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant (Duo Gallery)
Man Man (Keong Saik Road)
SBCD Korean Tofu House Unagi Special (Millenia Walk)
Kogane Yama (Bugis Junction)
The Butcher’s Kitchen (Suntec City)

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