Touted as the “Cheapest Charcoal-Grilled Unagi Hitsumabushi in Singapore”, Una Una @ Bugis+ delivers on its promise. Even though the restaurant hasn’t been officially opened, there is already a line outside when I get there at 7pm on a weeknight.
The Unagi Hitsumabushi (also known as unadon or grilled eel rice bowl) is priced in three increments: $9.80 for a small, which still has a reasonable amount of eel to enjoy; $14.80 for a regular; and $19.80 for a double.
This dish can be enjoyed in three ways. First, the eel on its own. Freshly grilled over a charcoal fire to a light crisp on the outside and juicy tenderness on the inside, and generously brushed with their unagi sauce sweetened with mirin, the eel prompts blissful sounds around the table. This really could just be the only thing I have for dinner.
The second method is to add wasabi and negi (spring onions). The sweetness of the real grated wasabi and the accompanying kick add a complementary dimension to the eel and pearly Japanese rice.
Wasabi-lovers can feel free to request for more, especially when you try the third method: adding the dashi (broth) to the mixture. The light savouriness of the dashi enhances the sweetness of the eel, and the occasional wasabi chunk pops up for added excitement.
Those who want a little extra can also try the Kaizen Hitsumabushi ($18.80), which is essentially the above but with chunks of sashimi. While not fishy, the raw fish pieces are a little too soft, so it might be better just to order the sashimi on its own, especially if you have a big appetite or are sharing with friends.
Unaju are unagi bento box sets, and you can have it plain (regular $19.80, double $29.80), with beef shabu-shabu ($22.80), or with salmon ikura ($26.80), complete with chawanmushi and miso soup.
For the beef shabu-shabu, the beef feels a tad tought, even if it is still tasty and just slightly gamey.
For non-eel options, the Hokkaido Grilled Squid ($14.80) has a robust smoky flavour and a clean bite with just a tad of chew.
The Philadelphia Sushi Roll ($12.80), so-called due to a hint of cream-cheese, tastes healthy and clean, but is not on the top of my list, especially since the unagi sets already come with generous servings of rice.
The Salmon Yonshu More ($28.80) is a good bet if you like salmon sashimi, with four different cuts of the fish, including some salmon ikura. If you’re ordering this with the unagi, take note that the light flavour of the sashimi might be masked by the strong and sweet marinade, so have it before you start on the eel.
The queue is still there when I leave. If you are coming for dinner, you might want to come before 6pm to beat the crowd.
Bugis+ #04-10, 201 Victoria Street, Singapore 188067
tel: +65 6238 1011
Weekdays 11.30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm; Weekends 11.30am – 10pm
You may be interested in…
–Unagiya Ichinoji by Miyagawa Honten, Robertson Quay: 125 Year-old Tokyo Eel Restaurant Opens First Overseas Branch in Singapore
–EELectrifying Unagi Dons in Singapore: Akasaka Yukun @ Japan Foods Garden; Bonta Bonta @ Japan Food Town; Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant by Teppei @ Keong Siak
–Uya う屋 四代目菊川 at Wheelock: Fourth Generation Owner of Unagi Restaurant Opens in Singapore
–Unagidokoro Takahashi うなぎ処 髙はし, Hakodate Hokkaido: MichEELin Bib Gourmand Unagi Restaurant. Much fEELs.
Written by Tan Ken Jin. True to the name of this website, KJ is closely associated with rubbish, organising litter-picking activities that culminate in a makan session (because #Singaporean). That, and he once tried marinating salmon in blueberry juice and orange juice. He survived.