These echinoids with creamy and orange coloured flesh soak up the best flavours of the ocean. Follow this guide to taste and experience the best of the sea urchin.
Kuu house roll (top photo)
Where: Sushi Kuu
#01-06/07, 390 Orchard Rd., Palais Renaissance, 6736-0100.
Here’s a signature dish worth its title. Sushi Kuu’s Kuu House Roll ($65) is a serving of four luxurious sushi rolls. Yes, it comes with a hefty price tag, but it might be worth it as it literally overflows with raw goodness. There’s the oily minced toro, creamy uni, sweet botan shrimp, and the succulent and salty ikura. If you can’t get yourself to fork up the dough for the rolls, opt for the hand roll version which is almost half the price.
Marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and oscietra caviar
Where: Waku Ghin
L2-02, Atrium 2, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 6688-8507.
Waku Ghin’s colossal admission fee ($400 for a 10 course menu) will buy you a taste of some of the most decadent and luxe eats, like this signature dish. Although it’s majestically presented (a half sea urchin shell perched atop clear crushed ice and wisps of seaweed), it’s what’s inside the shell that will blow you away: lightly marinated juicy botan shrimp topped with smooth sea urchin from Hokkaido and generous helpings of only the finest oscietra caviar.
Negitoro and uni kaisen don
5 Yong Siak St., 6223-9003.
Ikyu’s Negitoro and Uni Kaisen Don is a simple dish, but it speaks volumes of the quality of its ingredients. The dish is part of the modern Japanese restaurant’s omakase menu ($138) and is served as a tasting portion. The best rice of Niigata is used as a delicious stage for the uni and negitoro which is lightly seasoned with a special soy-based sauce and is topped with a pinch of tart and aromatic yuzu.
Where: Saint Pierre
#01-15, 31 Ocean Way, Quayside Isle, 6438-0887.
Belgian chef Emmanuel Stroobant, takes inspiration from Italy and Japan with this number. Meant to be eaten with chopsticks, the Risotto d’Anguile ($32) is served on a pretty blue and white Japanese bowl. In the bowl sits an unctuous slab of marinated unagi which is placed on top of warm, cheesy acquerello rice – it’s the chef’s rendition of the unagi don. This comforting course is topped with a few slivers of sea urchin and is garnished with dollops crème fraiche, thyme salt, and micro basil.
Sea urchin and crab bisque
16 Jiak Chuan Rd., 6222-1616.
Esquina’s Sea Urchin and Crab Bisque ($18) is a foamy creation which contains the best of the ocean’s salty, umami flavours. The creamy bisque is a mixture of pureed sea urchin and a reduction of crab and lobster. It’s artfully portioned in a half sea urchin shell on a bed of black salt and is served alongside a petit silver spoon filled with similarly shaped gifts from the ocean: smoked herring roe and sea grapes.
Sea urchin in a box
#12-02, 181 Orchard Rd., Orchard Central, 6509-9618.
Sometimes there’s an ingredient which comes along that’s strong enough to stand on its own. The Sea Urchin in a Box ($15) from Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya provides just this at an accessible price too. But if you wish, wrap a few of these lobes of sea urchin in a crisp sheet of nori, smear it with a touch of freshly-grated wasabi and gingerly dip it in soya sauce. There’s a limited supply of these coveted crates, so make sure to call in advance to reserve a box or two!
Sea urchin pudding
22 Ann Siang Rd., 6423-1228.
This Ann Siang small-plates-serving eatery is famous for one dish: the Sea Urchin Pudding ($40, $21 for a half portion). This black and orange beauty, which has probably made it to every self-respecting food editor’s wish list for their last meal, is a dream. Served in a white bowl, this concoction is comprised of a pitch-dark pudding made from squid ink, cream, egg yolk and tomato. It creates a soft bedding for the luscious scoops of briny sea urchin.
Where: Sushi Mitsuya
#01-01, 60 Tras St., 6438-2608.
Sushi Mitsuya delivers one of the most authentic sushi experiences in Singapore. The only seating available here is at the sushi bar, which is limited to 18 people. Furthermore, an a la carte menu ceases to exist as there are only lunch and dinner sets ($60 and $130 respectively) offered. Thankfully, head chef Ryosuke Harada loves his uni and is very generous with serving it. You must request for the uni sushi. It’s a beauty of only three ingredients: sushi rice, top-grade uni and a speck of wasabi.
Where: Pidgin Kitchen and Bar
#01-04, 7 Dempsey Rd., 6475-0800.
Last year, European eatery, Pamplemousse Bistro & Bar, morphed into Pidgin Kitchen and Bar, a South East Asian-inspired restaurant. However, a few time-tested favourites remained on the menu, such as the Uni Tagliolini ($22 as an appetizer and $28 as a main). Here, the al dente ribbons of pasta are coated in a densely flavoured creamy shellfish sauce which is finished off with pork cracklings, nori, chives, and of course, a serving of rich uni.
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Uni with rice
Where: Hashida Sushi Singapore
#02-37 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd., 6733-2114.
An ingredient as delicate as uni thrives in the hands of the most skilled chefs. Chef Kenjiro Hashida of Hashida Sushi Singapore has learned from one of Tokyo’s best sushi chefs, his father, Master Sushi Chef Tokio Hashida. There are only set menus available here (starting at $80 for lunch and $250 for dinner), but uni features in a large portion of the dishes, such as this one where a heavy handful of uni is paired with ikura and is carefully placed on a bed of sushi rice and flakes of nori.