Umami 10, Telok Ayer: Exceptional sake & food pairings for a unique tapas experience

As I begin adulting and find myself in the ‘finding good after-work wine & dine places’ phase, I was pleasantly surprised by Umami 10.

Umami 10, a fresh take on the izakaya genre, offered the perfect fix for my palette and pocket.

Umami 10

Two things stood out for me at Umami 10.

First, the wide array of European-influenced Japanese tapas dishes, elegantly paired with exclusive award-winning sake.

Second, the atmosphere at Umami 10 was trendy and bright, and the staff were all warm and hospitable. It really felt like a home away from home; I must confess that I have hosted many friends and family there myself.

Umami 10

For a novice to sake and tapas-dining like myself, navigating the menu and finding the perfect pairing of drinks may be a little daunting.

My suggestion is to reach out to one of the friendly staff at Umami 10 for the right combination of food and sake to really bring out that umami taste alongside your chosen drink. I was recommended the four most popular tapas and sake pairings.

What I tried

Umami 10

As a starter, I had the Tsukune (S$15) to warm up my taste buds for what’s ahead.

It was a dazzling texture-fest, from the crunchy walnuts to the tender chicken patty and the milkiness of the yolk, all infused with just the right amount of sweetness from the caramelised sauce.

Umami 10

I enjoyed the Tsukune with the Manbow Junmai Ginjo that came with a refreshing taste and mild ginjo aroma, which allowed the aroma and taste of the chicken patty to take center stage.

It was just the right amount of umami and dryness to pair with the flavourful chicken meat. What a deceptively simple yet very hearty start to the meal!

Umami 10

For all my Okinawa fans, Buta Kakuni (S$20) would not be new to you, but Umami 10 certainly knocked it out of the park.

The meat was braised to perfection and not too heavy on the palette, even when eaten alone. Furthermore, I’ve always found the dish a little too greasy elsewhere, but Umami 10’s pairing of the richly fat pork with the right drink made me fall in love with the dish all over again.

Paired with the moderately-aged Kouro Junmai Ginjo, the sake’s mellow taste, rich finish, and depth of flavour married well with the heaviness of the dish.

Umami 10

I had the delightful Scallops Carpaccio (S$26), which greeted me with a pleasant view, just like a bed of flowers. Thinly sliced scallops were topped with a generous amount of truffle caviar and salmon roe.

The unexpected winner here, however, was the mango salsa that was a pleasant surprise for the palette. The sweetness went with the sourness from the balsamic pearls and the saltiness of the caviar, roe, and sea asparagus. Again, the play of textures was incredible — the scallop melting in your mouth, alongside the burst of freshness when I bit into the truffle caviar and roe, and the crunchiness of the sea asparagus. This dish really captured how Umami 10 offers an unparalleled fine-dining experience at an unbeatable price.

Paired with the Semi Junmai Ginjo that had a similarly refreshing and light aroma of fruits and mushrooms, the gentle acidity and mild bitterness gave the right smoothness to pair with the natural sweetness of the scallops and the burst of flavours from the dish.

Last but not least was the Wagyu Boneless Short Ribs (S$34), which was braised in a red wine concoction for 12 hours to true perfection.

I know wagyu melts in your mouth, but I was genuinely shocked by how soft those short ribs were when I had a bite. Compliments to the chef for really bringing out the luxurious, buttery nature of the wagyu.

Paired with the Hanayuki Junmai Ginjo that had a gentle mouthfeel and sweetness, the light taste and lingering finish cleared my palette for subsequent mouthfuls of the short ribs and I was done with the dish in a matter of minutes.

Final thoughts

With a selection of over 35 different tapas, the most exciting part of it all was that every dish was delicately plated to perfection, promising not just a feast for the stomach but also for the eyes and the soul.

I loved that the bar took pride in its quality of ingredients and original menu (which is seasonal by the way, so be prepared to be surprised each time you visit) but also offered an elegant, exclusive yet comfortable and laid-back form of fine dining.

The next time you are looking for a home away from home to host your family and friends, Umami 10 would be at the top of my recommendations.

Other articles you might like:

Kabuke: Bringing Japanese Tapas, Sake & Kabuki Theatric Vibes To Telok Ayer

10 Tapas Bars In Singapore That Will Leave You Feeling On Tapa The World

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Umami 10

163 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068616

Our Rating 4/5

Umami 10

163 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068616

Telephone: +65 6513 5789
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Sat), Closed on Sun
Telephone: +65 6513 5789

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Sat), Closed on Sun
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