COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Tired and put off by the winding queues that form outside Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant? Welp, stretch out your legs because here’s another unagi spot to wait in long lines for: Unagiya Ichinoji, now open for business at Robertson Quay.
The restaurant is the Singaporean outpost (and first overseas outlet) of Japanese restaurant chain Miyagawa Honten, which has an impressive 125-year legacy that began in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo. The quality of dishes available here is assured to be just as top notch as its home ground — after all, the Japanese head chef of Unagiya Ichinoji underwent three months of training in a Miyagawa Honten outlet to hone and master the skills needed for quality unagi.
Unlike Man Man’s style of straight-up grilling eels at high temperatures, Unagiya adheres to Miyagawa Honten’s original method, which is to first steam the unagi before grilling it. All cuts are marinated with sansho (Sichuan peppercorn’s Japanese cousin) and kuro shichimi (a traditional blend of seven black spices) before being basted generously with tare sauce during charcoal grilling.
The array of offerings is simple enough; there are only three main variations of unagi dishes to choose from. The signature dish, Hitsumabushi, comes in three sizes — $19.80 for small, $32.80 for large, $77.80 for extra large — and is probably the simplest way to enjoy the restaurant’s quality grilled eel cuts. You get unagi over rice, which can be enjoyed with nori, wasabi, green onion, and dashi to fit your preference.
Exclusive only to Unagiya Ichinoji are the Seiro Moshi ($24.80 with chawanmushi, $19.80 without) and the Mamushi Donburi ($23.80 with chawanmushi, $18.80 without). The former is said to hail from Kanagawa, Fukuoka, and involves a slab of charcoal-grilled unagi steamed in a bamboo steamer together with kinshi egg and Hokkaido rice. The latter is for the egg lovers — think rice topped with unagi, Japanese yam, mentaiko, kinshi eggs, and an onsen egg. Mush it all together for optimal results.
Side dishes include the likes of unagi chawanmushi, unagi bone cracker, unagi sushi roll, unagi omelette, unagi salad, and unagi simmered boiled liver. Like we mentioned up top, be well prepared for long queues ‘cause the 34-seater restaurant currently does not accept reservations.
Unagiya Ichinoji is at #01-05 Riverside View, Robertson Quay, 6732-1970. Daily 11:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm.