Call this the “Man Man” effect, but foodies in Singapore are paying more attention to Japanese sea eels aka unagi, compared to say a couple of years ago.
I was curious enough to try Unaemon, which is newly opened at GOCHI, Capital Square.
GOCHI is a Japanese food hall of sorts, with six food concepts in one place. Four of them are new-to-market brands: Chojiro (sushi), Pronto (Japanese-Italian cafe), Unaemon (unagi) and Paletas (ice popsicles).
The other two are Morozoff (chocolates and cheesecake) and Suage Express (soup curry) which operates as a takeaway counter.
Established in Japan in 1950, Unaemon was co-founded in Japan by the owner of Taga, a 147-year old Unagi specialty restaurant, and the third owner of Kiyoizumi, a historical Unagi restaurant in Hinode-cho, Yokohama.
Unaemon serves up Unaju ($32, $36), Hitsumabushi ($28.50, $33, $46), Unagi Bento ($19.50) and other ala carte dishes such as Grilled Egg with Sauce ($29.50), Smoked Eel ($15), Fried Eel ($18), and Eel Egg Roll.
There are plans to serve the popular original dish Unagi Shabu-shabu in the future.
Two chefs are based in Singapore to oversee things in the kitchen.
As for the preparation process, the unagi is slit and butterflied before being grilled over hot charcoal for the first time.
It is then steamed, seasoned with its premium sweet sauce, then grilled for three times.
Some of the special features include the rice which is sourced from the famous Nanatsuboshi brand in Hokkaido, and sweet barbecue sauce which has been continuously replenished since the restaurant was founded close to 150 years ago.
I ordered the Hitsumabushi ($33), served with chopped up eel over Hokkaido rice, broth, soup, pickles and savoury egg custard.
The unagi came paler than expected, as we are accustomed to darker brown-sauced ones.
On one hand, you can savour the more natural taste of the unagi which has sufficient thickness and fluffiness; but you may miss that sweet-sticky glaze.
Comparatively, the pieces were not as crisp, and what I didn’t fancy as much was that there were several small bones (too many) within which affected the overall eating experience.
The broth was delicious though, brewed with Shizuoka Yaitsu bonito, and made the overall combination a lot more flavourful when poured in.
Unaemon @ GOCHI
Capital Square, 23 Church Street, #01-02/08, Singapore 049481
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Other Related Entries
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant (Keong Saik Road)
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant (Duo Gallery)
Unagiya Ichinoji Dining (Suntec City)
Uya (Wheelock Place)
Unagiya Ichinoji (Robertson Quay)