The Place It is the first Uni (Sea Urchin in Japanese) centric restaurant I am aware in Singapore. Meet Uni Gallery by Oosterbay, the one month old restaurant which as its name suggests, serves more Uni dishes than I have ever seen in Singapore. My first disclaimer is that the location of Uni Gallery by Oosterbay is really offbeat and there might be some difficulty locating it. The restaurant is located at the basement of an old building called The Plaza, which is adjacent and linked to PARKROYAL on Beach Road hotel. Take the spiral staircase from level 1 to the basement of The Plaza and you will find Uni Gallery.
The modern space of Uni Gallery is a stark juxtaposition to the rest of the tenants, with fun Japanese motifs on the walls by a local artist and bright counter seatings where you could watch the chefs in action. Oosterbay is an online retailer of seafood, and in particular Japanese products, hence the relatively competitive pricing of Uni in the restaurant.
The Food It’s not just all about Uni at Uni Gallery as the menu also offers other types of sashimi, sushi, grilled dishes and even oysters, though it would be missing the point if you are not an uni lover. The wide mix of uni available ranges from Canadian Aka uni, Japanese Bafun and Murasaki uni, and to the most highly prized Japanese Higashizawa Shiro Uni and Hadate Shiro, which are only available at uni auctions in Japan. The uni and most ofthe seafod produce are air-flown 4 times a week to ensure the best freshness.
We started with one of the signature dishes on the menu, the Uni Oyster Shot (S$25) which features a luscious scoop of uni with ikura fish roe served atop the oyster. I was advised to have it an one go, so the flavours were literally exploding in my mouth. I couldn’t quite taste the uni portion but all I remembered was that all the ingredients were very fresh, including the oyster.
Another interesting starter, the Uni with Quail Egg (S$20) is also another 3-seconds dish where I had it at one go. I initially thought the quail egg taste would be quite raw, but it actually went quite well with the uni.
For something substantial without breaking the bank, go for the Uni Chirashi (S$49) which comes with about 65-80g of uni. The type of uni served depends on availability and seasonality. During my visit, I had the Canadian Aka uni, which is quite creamy in texture and the flavour profile is somewhat between that of bafun and murasaki uni. If you are just beginning to appreciate uni, I would say Aka uni is quite ideal to start with. The best value for this dish is during lunch time where the Uni Chirashi is only available at S$28.90 instead of S$49!
If you are really serious about uni tasting here, ask the staff or chef for the Uni Tasting Platter, which is an off the menu item and the price depends on the combination of uni served. I had 5 types of uni (approximately 15g each) during my visit at S$98 – Shiro, Bafun, Murasaki, Aka and a marinated uni with yuzu. Shiro uni comes from various parts of Japan and the flavour is the cleanest of all for me, also one of my favourites here from this tasting platter. The Canadian Aka uni is my second favourite as the taste profile has the right mix of creaminess and ocean taste for me. Murasaki uni is probably more preferred by those who prefer a sweeter, creamier and a more oceanic uni taste.
Finally, we had the Uni Tokusen Sashimi 7 Types (S$74/2 persons), which is essentially chef’s choice of 7 sashimi including 1 uni sashimi. After all the uni dishes, this fresh sashimi platter is a good respite for the palate.
Rants While prices for uni are relatively cheaper than fine dining restaurants, it is still quite expensive in absolute terms.
Will I Return Again? I had fun dining at Uni Gallery as it was also a good educational and eye opening experience for me given that it is my first time being exposed to so many types of uni at one go. Prices for uni are not cheap admittedly, and it is definitely one of the most premium ingredients in Japanese cuisine. That said, if you are an uni lover, Uni Gallery is a must visit.
Make your reservation instantly at Uni Gallery by Oosterbay here.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Monday to Sunday: 11.30am to 2.30pm; 6 to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter