Lunch @ Man Man Unagi Restaurant

January 25, 2017 in Japanese

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

Dinner @ Chikuyotei (UE Square)

October 26, 2016 in Asian, Japanese

I have been to Chikuyotei before, but at their flagship outlet at Intercontinental Singapore. I didn’t follow up with my review then because I wanted to make a return trip. On a Monday to be specific as I was told by the staff that the other ways of grilling / cooking sea eel were only available on Mondays.

But I must have taken too long in returning as they opened a second outlet at UE Square since. Oops! So when the opportunity finally came for me to check out Chikuyotei, I was in a dilemma. To go back to Intercontinental Singapore, or to check out UE Square’s.

In the end, I went with the latter. Curiosity got the better of me lah. Ha. I wanted to see how different the outlet at UE Square was. And reservation was made just a few days in advance for a weekday dinner at 8.30pm.

But when my friend and I were running late cause I went for a crossfit class prior (and it ended late), I was worried. We would only arrive at Chikuyotei at 8.50pm and their website stated that they close at 10pm. I knew we needed at least 1.5 hours to have a comfortable omakase dinner. However, I was surprised and relieved to see most of the patrons just starting (on) their dinner.

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

1) Grilled eel liver, $16 (above) – With 5 pieces on the stick, we were told by chef Akihiro Maetomo that the eel liver is very good for the eyes. I definitely need more of it then! However not everyone would enjoy the eel liver grilled as it left a bitter aftertaste. And cause my friend didn’t like it, I had 4 pieces all to myself. Keke.

2) Broiled eel (aichi) wrapped in Japanese omelette, $42 (above) – This was pretty good. Omelette was fluffy and light, although I wished there was more eel. Keke.

3) Omakase course (Take), $198 comprised of:-

(A) Item #1 (above) – Pre-appetizer of Japanese vegetables topped with freshly shaved bonito flakes. Yes, we witnessed Chef Maetomo shaving the dried bonito with a meat slicing machine.

(B) Item #2 (above) – Appetizer of lotus root, edamame, sweet potato and yam.

(C) Item #3 (above) – Salmon milt and egg tofu served in clear soup.

(D) Item #4 (above) – Assorted sashimi of medium fatty tuna (chutoro), sea urchin, mackerel and squid. So, so good. Reminded me of my love for the combination of sea urchin and squid. =p

(E) Item #5 (above) – While presenting this plate of plain broiled eel, chef Maetomo mentioned that the eel was freshly sliced in the morning. And having it plain was definitely the proper way to appreciate the sea eel; With no sauce to overpower its original natural taste.

(F) Item #6 (above) – Spanish mackerel with mushroom stew.

(G) Item #7 (above) – With a few options to choose for the main course, I went with the Japanese eel on rice since sea eel is their specialty. Although I was very tempted to order the blue fin tuna on sushi rice (with a top up of $28). However, with only a quarter portion served for the omakase course and (greedy) me wanting more sea eel, I topped up $18 to be given half portion (as pictured).

(H) Item #8 (above) – Dessert of red bean jelly, persimmon and pear.

4) Unagi course (Fuku), $158 comprised of:-

(A) Item #1 – Similar to mine; Pre-appetizer of Japanese vegetables topped with bonito flakes.

(B) Item #2 – Appetizer of lotus root, edamame, sweet potato and yam.

(C) Item #3 – Again, similar to mine; Salmon milt and egg tofu served in clear soup.

(D) Item #4 – Assorted sashimi of medium fatty tuna (chutoro), sea urchin, mackerel and squid.

(E) Item #5 (above) – Chestnut with sticky rice.

(F) Item #6 – Same as mine; Spanish mackerel with mushroom stew.

(G) Item #7 (above) – Assorted tempura of tiger prawn (kuruma-ebi), mushroom and sea urchin (uni). The sea urchin tempeura was so good. So glad it was served in halves for my friend to easily share it with me. Keke.

(H) Item #8 (above) – We forgot to mention our dietary restriction when we had our orders taken. So when chef Maetomo came with beef on a potable clay grill, we were very apologetic. However, what really touched us was that chef Maetomo immediately took the beef back and returned to say he will prepare flounder instead. All with a smile.


(I) Item #9 (above) – Between broiled eel on rice, broiled eel with sauce and rice, and chopped eel on rice served with soup, my friend went with chopped eel for main course cause the chopped eel was only available for the unagi course. We were further told by the staff that the difference between the 3 prices of the unagi course was the eel portion. Fuku ($158), Gin ($188) and Take ($218) entitled one to half, full, and one and a half portion of eel respectively. And yes, I liked that we were given instruction on how to appreciate this dish which is also known as hitsumabushi. My favourite way was with the soup!

(J) Item #10 – Dessert of red bean jelly, persimmon and pear.

I was very impressed with my dining experience at Chikuyotei’s UE Square outlet. The ambience was very different from Intercontinental Singapore’s. UE Square’s was more upscale while Intercontinental Singapore’s was cosier and less formal. I preferred the former of course. Haha.

Got to learn from Gourmet Japan that chef Akihiro Maetomo previously worked at Michelin-starred Chikuyotei, the flagship store in Tokyo, too.

Besides the good ambience and wonderful food, their service was commendable too. There was a slight miscommunication between their service staff and kitchen staff cause my friend was served eel on rice (una don) instead of chopped eel on rice (hitsumabushi). We were a little embarrassed as we told chef Maetomo about the error in main course, especially after our error of not informing them of our dietry restriction. But chef Maetomo apologised for the staff’s error and immediately took it back to the kitchen to change. Thank you for making us feel at ease and not guilty for causing so much inconvenience.

So while it was stated that they close at 10pm, we stayed till 11.15pm! It was also while we were having our dessert that we got to interact with one of their senior management who introduced himself as the person responsible for (bringing in) the supply. He hinted that a third outlet may be in the pipeline!

207 River Valley Road, UE Square, #01-61, Singapore
6235 2795, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun