This week-old 90-seater, which specialises in grilled live unagi (freshwater eels), is hoping to give super popular Michelin Bib Gourmand winner Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant a run for its money. It’s opened by the people behind Koji restaurant at Pickering Street, which is famous for its good value chirashi don. Uya is set up in partnership with the fourth-generation owner of an eel wholesaler in Japan. The Japanese head chef here boasts more than a decade’s experience cooking in unagi restaurants in Nagoya, such as Atsuta Horaiken.
The eels are sourced from both Taiwan and Japan, and transported live to Singapore, where they are slaughtered daily in the restaurant and grilled over binchotan charcoal. Unlike at Man Man’s main branch, you can't really see the eels being killed (this is done about twice a day) unless you stand right in front of the smallish window overlooking the kitchen. Not that we mind, to be honest. You, will however, be able to see the chef grilling the eels as they’re basted in a “secret sauce”. The signature dish here is the Hitsumabushi (from $35 for medium), with chopped unagi, Koshihikari rice from Niigata, spring onions, wasabi, nori (seaweed), and dashi stock. Or go for the Unagi Rice Box ($46), with a large slab of eel, salad, pickles and miso soup. There are also side dishes like the grilled Eel Liver ($9).
Look out for our undercover restaurant review soon.
#02-15/16, Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Rd. Tel: 6732-1096. Open daily. 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-10pm. Last orders 30 mins before closing. www.facebook.com/uyasg