Lunch @ Man Man Unagi Restaurant

January 25, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

I reckon most people, or foodies at least, would have heard about Man Man by now. Opened by the same group behind Teppei and Hana Hana, Man Man specialises in freshwater eel (unagi). And behind the charcoal stove is head chef Nakagawa who has 20 years experience of grilling these freshwater eels. I kid you not. One needs to have skill to grill these.

And I read that the supply at Man Man comes from Mikawa Isshiki region which is famous for high quality freshwater eel.

Was in the area with a friend one night and thought of heading over for dinner. And it was a good thing we called first because they were sold out. And after knowing that my crossfitters were keen in checking the place, we headed down for lunch after our Saturday morning class. Keke.

Located in the back alley, we arrived at 1.30pm and were surprised to see a long queue. We thought 1.30pm was considered non-peak. But I guess we were wrong. And so we queued for almost 40 minutes before we got a table for 6 people.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), we ordered:-

1) Unagi bone crackers, $6 (above)


2) Umaki, $12.80 (above)

3) Shirayaki, $24.80 (above) – Broiled & seasoned with salt.

4) Una don, $25.80 (medium) (above) – Unagi, tamagoyaki, soup, pickles.

5) Una don, $32.80 (large) (above) – Unagi, tamagoyaki, soup, pickles.

6) Hitsumabushi, $26.80 (above) – Unagi, soup, pickles, broth, spices. Unlike my dining experience at Chikuyotei where I was given a slip of paper, instructions were given verbally at Man Man. And that’s only if the busy staff remember to ask if it’s one’s first time trying the dish. Hitsumabushi can be enjoyed in 3 ways. Start by dividing rice into 4 portions. Enjoy first portion with eel and rice. Second, eel and rice mixed with spring onion, seaweed and freshly grated wasabi. Third portion is same as second’s, but with additional dashi soup. And for the last portion, one can enjoy it in one’s preferred way.

I am happy to say Man Man is one restaurant that’s worth the long queueing time! Sea eel was slightly charred (in a nice way, of course) on the outside, yet tender on the inside. Superb. And the price is easy on one’s purse too!

However, the restaurant was poorly designed in terms of space utilization and ventilation. They probably were not expecting such a big turn out because tanks containing the sea eels which were placed on the floor near the entrance would have allowed for additional 3 tables (6 to 7 seats). We reckoned they should put the tanks at the back of house, and leave just one glass tank (within the dining area) for customers to view the live eels. You know, like what most Chinese restaurants would do. Keke. And for a restaurant with lots of grilling, I am surprised the unit’s ventilation was inadequately designed for. I kid you not when I say my crossfitters and I were greeted with smoke when we entered the restaurant. So yes, one will smell after dining at Man Man.

I thought I should also add that their grilled sea eel is only good when head chef Nakagawa is in charge of the grilling. My friend, who’s very impressed with the food, was left disappointed during her third visit. Apparently, head chef Nakagawa wasn’t in that day and the restaurant got another a random staff to stand in.

1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, Singapore
6222 0678
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 11:30 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun