Uni (sea urchin in Japanese) is the edible part of the dangerously poisonous sea urchin at the animal’s gonads which produces the milt. It can be rich gold in colour, or light yellow as well, depending on its grade. It’s creamy, subtly sweet, albeit briny.
Uni got my eyes on you, you sweet sweet marine lover. I am well aware that it’s a pretty acquired taste, with an adequate handful of people telling me how foul it tastes, and another declaring their love for these decadently creamy and umami little tongues of happiness.
Either way, it’s obvious I’m a member of the latter and I’ve went all around our home ground to scour for 10 spots that serves up the prettiest uni dishes that will hit all the sweet and briny spots. Please refrain from crying as the list goes on.
Baccala Cakes with Sea Urchin Sabayon ($22)
Ah cinchettis and aperol, the goodness of that combination is immense and you bet I’m a happy person to have found a place in Singapore that does that.
SONS, an Italian restaurant inside China Square Central, serves up authentic Italian bites at affordable prices. After all, it’s spearheaded by famous restauranteur, Beppe De Vitto.
On first look it might prove to be a little confusing but think of it as a salted cod cake, and breaded with squid ink. Inside, it’s a medley of bechamel sauce, potatoes and fish, all coming together to complement the sea urchin sabayon cream. Absolutely scrumptious.
&SONS: #01-19 China Square Central, 20 Cross Street, Singapore 048422 | Tel: +65 6221 3937 | Website | Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11:30am – 1am, Saturday 6pm – 2am
Melding cool and chic, Boruto, a stylish Japanese gastropub located near the heart of CBD, offers worn-down office-workers or ladies looking for a mellow night out or a snazzy place to kick back, enjoy some tapas, slurp on some drinks, and have an overall rad time.
The head chef at Boruto, Mr. Angus Chow has been in the food industry for over 15 years and has worked for several big names like Les Amis, FOC and Nanto Group (Nan Ten). With his experience and the creative spirit of the Boruto kitchen crew, new avant-garde dishes with a localized flourish are constantly being churned out.
Listed under the “Carbs” section of the menu, Boruto’s Uni Pasta v1.1 ($35.80) promises to bring the flavours of the ocean to your plate. Braised in seafood broth and topped with white wasabi, not cheese, the seafood essence of this dish is really quite powerful. It does go nicely with the white wasabi, which gave the dish a tad bit of zing.
Read more: Brotuo Singapore Review
Boruto: 80 South Bridge Road, #01-01, Golden Castle Building, Singapore 058710 | Tel: 6532 0418 | Website | Tapas bar: Monday to Saturday 1800- 2300, Sake bar: Monday to Saturday 1630-0000, Happy hour: Monday to Saturday 1630-1930, Closed on Sundays
Premium Kaisen Don ($58)
Available in the ala carte menu, the Premium Kaisen Don is just about the right size for me. Slathered with a generous amount of negitoro, scallops and uni, this don combines all the freshness you could ever imagine. It is topped with the crispy tempura bits, bringing together all the flavours of the sea.
Its wasabi dressing impressed me further, offering medley of flavours alone; it is exceedingly umami, much like soya sauce, with a subtle hint of yuzu while remaining inherently a wasabi dressing that pairs well with creamy uni and the rest of the fresh seafood. A slight sprinkle of chives and our taste buds will be satisfied.
IKYU: 5 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168643 | Tel: 6223 9003 | Website | Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm -10:30pm
Uni Onsen ($18)
Chic and industrial-like is exactly how I would describe Izy Dining and Bar, complete with concrete walls and tall tables, exuding a charmingly casual and classy atmosphere.
I’m a huge lover of onsen tamago and pair that with uni, it’s almost a sin to not try it. Topped with a generous amount of creamy uni, the warm onsen tamago is well seasoned with herbs while the specially prepared wasabi dressing packs an unique combination of flavours.
While you’re at it, their tamago version is also worth a mention. It is topped with crispy tempura bits that gives the entire dish different layers of textures.
Sea urchin and crab bisque ($22)
Firstly, the plating was done very well. Secondly, there’s a brilliant play of textures, with the uni and lobster bisque bubbly and light foam combining together to give that oceanic hint to the dish. It makes for a grand entrance to the medley of seafood underneath.
Very savoury and fresh, there is an underlying sweetness amidst the briny goodness. The ingredients used are fresh, sweet and tender. The smoked herring roe gives an extra punch of flavour, and dare I say Esquina’s service is impeccable and on the ball.
Uni and Ikura Don ($40)
The entire set comes with appetiser, karaage, salad, soup and dessert, which changes from time to time. Sitting atop aromatic Japanese grains are a mix of julienne vegetables that packs a punch of flavours, albeit herb-y and piquant.
The lettuce lends an extra crunch and freshness to cleanse the palate in between bites of the briny ikura and uni. The uni is velvety, served cold and subtly sweet, while the ikura is savoury, salty and intensely flavoured.
Pair all of that with a tinge of wasabi and I’m in heaven.
Bincho: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19 | Singapore 162078 | Tel: 64384567 | Website | Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am
Think tapas with a Mediterranean twist and you’ve got Lolla. Littered amidst the hip district of Ann Siang, Lolla promises a gastronomical experience with their stellar food and service.
Sea Urchin Pudding ($22)
Don’t you belittle this cute and dainty pot of half portion sea urchin pudding because it is exceedingly creamy, savoury and intensely deep in flavours, that I had to pause in between bites. The pudding is condensed and creamy, and when had with the fresh sea urchin tongues, there is a subtle sweetness and contrast in flavours.
The chives seasoning helps to cut the flavours and balances out the dish, giving a substantial yet not overly cloying.
Lolla Restaurant: 22 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 609702 | Tel: +65 6423 1228 | Website | Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 11pm, Sun 10:30am – 3:00pm
Imperial Caviar and Uni (part of a set meal )
Two Michelin star my friend, two. I won’t rival that, I’ll let the food do the talking. And obviously caviar pairs with uni, just as ham and cheese.
Sitting atop dashi and broccoli cream, this decadent dish seductively beckons your soul, leaving you wanting more.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon: Hotel Michael, Level 1, Resorts World Sentosa | Tel: +65 6577 7888 | Website | Opening Hours: 5:30pm – 10:30pm (Thurs-Mon), Closed Tues, Wed
Linguine with Sea Urchin
Part of a four ($128++) course dinner meal, of which you can customise and choose whichever amount of appetiser, mains or dessert. While you’ll be totally spoiled for choice, I’d definitely recommend getting the linguine with sea urchin.
The slightly cold and velvety sea urchin has an exceedingly intense flavour profile, and the al dente linguine balances the flavour, giving it an overall well seasoned pasta dish.
Do look out for their appetiser that stars the sea urchin with sicilian prawn tartare. There is a piquant sweetness from the herbs, which pairs with the fragrance of the marine goodness and topped with oscietra caviar, making it all the more better.
Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar (part of a degustation menu, $400 per degustation menu)
Eaten properly with a mother of pearl spoon to complement the oscietra caviar, there is an intriguing blend of textures with a delicate and briny freshness. The uni especially so, with it being soft and creamy. While it may come at a hefty sum of $400 per degustation menu that has just earned itself a Michelin star, I reckon it is worth all the while. It’s Waku Ghin and it tops the list.
Waku Ghin: The Shoppes Atrium 2, Marina Bay Sands #02-02, 10 Bayfront Avenue Singapore | Tel: +65 6688 8507 | Website | Opening Hours: 6:00pm and 8:30pm (Two seatings)
Related guide: 10 Best Tonkatsus In Singapore