This is definitely not one of my affordable dining experiences (read here if you’re on the wrong post, haha!), but if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime kinda dining experience, this is definitely for you!
As I’ve mentioned time and again, even though I’m a food blogger, I’m as clueless or even more clueless than average diners, like a foodie bimbo. Need disclaimer first, or else later people defame me, or say I Kay Kiang.
In all honesty, I never knew there were different species of uni like the Aka, bufon and Murasaki – each with their very own distinct flavor profiles, appearance, and of course, price points ranging from a say affordable, not very affordable $28 to a whooping $180.
I had to do some research on this, just in case you guys are interested. Aka is the most common species of uni that’s commonly served in most restaurants, with a mainly umami profile with a hint of bitter after taste – sounds familiar? They are available all year round, which is probably why it’s relatively more affordable! The Bafun and Murasaki are seasonal produces where they taste optimal only in certain periods of the year – Bafun tend to be at its optimal in summer months, while Murasaki, in the winter Their appearances differ with the Bafun (red uni) appearing in a much more appetising and photogenic orangey color, while the latter (white uni) tends towards the paler shade of orange.
The taste profile, instead of the bitter hint of aftertaste like your aka uni, the Bafun is a lot sweeter than your usual Aka – much cleaner tasting and creamy.
To put the appearance differences into perspective, here’s how the Murasaki looks like:
They are bigger in size, but also a lot paler and less attractive in appearance. Its texture is alot creamier and a good balance of sweetness and umami-ness, I personally preferred this!
Oh just in case you guys are unaware, uni is actually the sexual organ (gonads) of sea urchin! So actually the whole sea urchin is just their gonads. Horny AF.
Uni Gallery is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Bugis, within this ulu mall called The Plaza. I had a hard time navigating there from PARK ROYAL (on beach road). I nearly gave up finding the place, turns out it’s actually located at the 2nd level of the hotel as part of its serviced suites.
Judging from the surroundings in this mall, Uni Gallery stood out from the rest with its lavish and sleek interior. I kinda have a love-hate relationship with their interior because the dim lights exudes a sense of mystery, yet at the same time it really sucked for photography. Sigh, that dilemma.
To give you a good gauge of the prices at uni gallery just to make sure you do not burst your budget, and to show you guys the crazy variety of uni centric items they have, check out their menu here:
Ranging from Uni sampler sets to maki to dons to pastas and even sashimi, they have it all! I guess this is the only place you can get top grade seasonal uni with anything you can conceive with your imagination. Aside from their uni offerings, they also pride themselves in serving the freshest slices of sashimi, flown in 4 times weekly from Japan!
Okok enough of all that introduction, let’s get to the food!
1) Uni Oyster Shot ($25++)
My only advice to all of you who are reading this, would be to SAVE UP, set aside $100-200 each to dine here so you can just order whatever that you fancy without worrying about the budget.
This was… AMAZING. OKOK, It didn’t occur to me that it was served on an oyster shell initially so when I slurped up all the uni and ikura, I was very pleasantly surprised to find a fresh looking, plump oyster beneath.
How you should eat this would be to open your mouth really wide and slurp everything in one mouthful. But aiyo $25++ like that jiu finish le, a bit bohua, feel like savouring it slowly instead. If you were to do the mouthful, you’ll find yourself in 7th heaven as the flavors pop and unveil its complexity on your palate. The umami-ness of the uni, the light sea sweetness from the oyster and the burst of ikura dances in cohesion in your mouth – mind-blowing AF. And I haven’t even gone into how amazing the textures are! The creaminess of the uni being elevated by the ikura, leaving that film of goodness in your mouth, which would tempt you to spend what’s left of your $100-200 on another one of this goodness.
2) Uni Sampler Set ($74++)
Sorry I can’t decide which picture is better so I’ll post them both. For those who are intrigued by the different species of uni, this is your best chance to try them.
As I’ve mentioned about the Bafun and Murasaki uni earlier on, I’ll give them a pass here. Whats unique about this plate is the one on the extreme right – Marinated Shutou Uni, hailing right from Santa Barbara, L.A.
What this is, is actually uni marinated with kombu shoyu (kelp seasoning soy sauce), and this can only be found in Los Angeles! Ok la worth the trip and price since it has flown a long way here! The taste of this can be overly “salty” for some, but I loved how umami it is, and I thought there was some alcoholic after taste to it. But I think I’m the only one who thought so.
I strongly recommend this plate to all of you who are intending to visit, it’s quite a gastronomic experience on its own. Good for 2 to share, in my opinion.
3) Uni Tokusen Uni ($110++ for 3 pax)
This is good for 3 to share. Seriously, up to this point, my palate is all wonky and really amazed at how much more surprise it could take. This platter consisted of 7 different types of sashimi including Bafun Uni, Otoro (fatty tuna), Hirame (flounder) , Kanpachi (amberjack), Megajiki (swordfish) Akimo (monkfish) and Salmon Belly.
What stood out the most, besides the freshness each slice of sashimi, has got to be the Monkfish Liver. You see that small plate in the foreground? That is the Ankimo. Monkfish Liver is very fatty and has the similar texture to foie gras, yet with more delicate flavors which would not leave you feeling jelak. Ankimo is rarely found outside Japanese cuisines and its creaminess is super addictive! Man, my palate is up for a huge treat today!
4) Uni Maki ($68)
Bam! This is one for the Maki lovers and I know there are a lot of you out there! I’m not a huge fan of Maki, honestly so I thought it was okok only. However it’s definitely darn value for money with a total of 130g of uni atop of the maki roll at just $68. 100g of uni on its own would have cost about $85-90.
This has cucumber and tamago stuffed in its core, and finished off with Murasaki Uni, tobiko roe and snow crab bits. Even though the uni added to the textures and slight flavor to the entire dish, I felt like it was not the best dish to bring out the pure goodness of the uni. This is probably great for the people who want to try out the flavors of uni or find uni overwhelming!
5) Uni Shooter ($19++) – MUST order
Not my best photo but it’s damn difficult to take this la – Bafun uni served in sake shot. I thought the sake brought out the flavors of the Bafun uni, and as the uni has soaked up all the goodness of the sake, each mouthful of the uni would bring out the burst of creaminess + the alcoholic goodness of the sake. That feeling as you press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, with the uni kiap-ed in between… Is exhilarating.
We then went on to the mains on their menu – Uni Chatsuke ($45++) and Uni Mentaiko Pasta ($38++).
Uni Chatsuke is essentially their version of Lei Cha or Uni porridge. Ok probably the hybrid of these 2 dishes.
Served with a pot of Green Tea, you’re supposed to pour it into the bowl of Japanese Steamed Rice and the Uni Shutou (the marinated uni) and mix it all up.
The result is a porridge like uni dish that is super comforting, but pretty bitter because of the marinated uni and the green tea. We heard that they’ve got local japanese coming in for this bowl once every 2 days. Well, I could see why, its simplicity and comforting feels is pretty addictive.
But would I come back here for this? Hmm I might want to go for something more adventurous or massively uni centric than a simple dish like this. Ok la I’m Singaporean for a reason. Value for money, more taste = more value. Hehe!
From the start of the dinner, I’ve been hoping and praying for the existence of uni pasta on their menu as I had this heavenly combination once in my life and I have yet to forget the experience since.
AND THEY DID. This uni pasta is tossed cream sauce mixed with Karasumi (mullet roe) and mentaiko sauce to bring out the complexity of the flavors of uni and mentaiko together. The mullet roe also gave each mouthful an additional crunch. Oh my, that umami uni, and the light heat from.the mentaiko sauce… I was on cloud 9. I CANNOT!
If there’s anywhere you’d like to go for an entirely different dining experience or if you’re looking for a gastronomic experience of a life time, Uni Gallery is some where I’d strongly recommend. It’s definitely a tad more pricey than your regular sushi or japanese restaurant, but the experience is priceless. For the non-uni lovers, they also do serve unique species of sashimi like the Shirako and the Ankimo. I don’t know about you, but every cent is worth it here.
I heard they’ve got amazing lunch deals like uni chirashi don set (with soup and green tea) at $28.90++ for lunch! Only for a limited time, catch them before it’s gone!
How to get there?
7500A Beach Road, #B1-310, The Plaza
Lunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm