Dining at UYA Japanese restaurant, located on the second floor of Wheelock Place in Orchard Singapore, offers a unique and authentic experience for those who appreciate quality eel dishes. The restaurant specializes in Kansai-style Live Eel Japanese Cuisine with a farm-to-table concept, showcasing the freshest eel imported from Japan. Here, you can savour their signature dish, the Hitsumabushi, prepared with charcoal-grilled unagi and Niigata rice, which can be enjoyed in different eating styles.
Furthermore, one of the highlights of UYA is the display of live eels outside the restaurant, imported weekly from Japan. This provides a fascinating glimpse into the restaurant’s commitment to using the freshest ingredients in their dishes. UYA takes pride in offering eel dishes that are grilled to perfection, making it a go-to destination for eel enthusiasts.
A place for Hitsumabushi
One of the standout dishes at UYA is their Hitsumabushi, originating from Nagoya Japan as a famous specialty. It is a traditional Japanese food and a signature dish that features chopped-up eel served with condiments, broth soup, and pickles. It comes in two sizes, with the medium priced at $37 and the large at $50. Also, what sets Hitsumabushi apart is the versatility in how you can enjoy it.
On ways to consume Hitsumabushi, UYA provides tea and spoons, allowing you to mix the dish with tea or enjoy it in various ways. The restaurant even offers small drink coaster-style instructions on how to eat your rice bowl, emphasizing that there’s no single right way to enjoy your dish.
Eel-bowls without breaking the bank
Additionally, for those seeking more affordable options, UYA also offers eel don bowls in the $30 range. These bowls are a great way to enjoy the Hitsumabushi experience and your unagi fix without breaking the bank. These are alternative and cheaper smaller portions of the Healthy Unagi Rice Bowl. You still get the full offerings of their quality eel bowl, topped with sides of vegetables, and sous-vide egg for $30. If you’re not particularly fond of eel, there are tempura and charashi rice bowls available as well.
Moreover, UYA presents its eel dishes in various serving styles, including bento-style lacquered boxes and don bowls. The Unagi Rice Bowl, priced at $35 for medium and starting at $26 for a small bowl, is a more budget-friendly choice. Also, it’s like a personalized rice bowl suitable for those with smaller appetites. However, it’s important to note that dining at UYA comes at a premium, with most dishes falling under the $40 price range.
Also, their Unagi Rice Box ($48) is particularly impressive, Nagayaki served in a long brown bowl that matches the length of the eel slice. It’s generously portioned, possibly enough to satisfy two smaller appetites. Here, the eel is laid on top of Japanese sticky rice. The eel is perfectly grilled, creating a delightful caramelized sweet coat on the top skin side and a chewy inner meaty bottom layer. You have the option to enjoy it either as a whole strip or evenly sliced chunks placed on rice.
Also, the eel slices are a delightful combination of crispy brown on one end and chewy on the other, resting on a bed of Japanese sticky rice. However, it’s worth noting that the eel portions are seasonal and might tend to be on the thinner side, which may or may not be to your preference.
Other non-eel dishes
Additionally, for those looking for more traditional Japanese options, UYA offers various rice dons, including tempura dons, Charashi and sashimi rice boxes. Also, these dishes start at $25 for small portions and go up to $48 for larger sizes. It provides for a wide range of choices to suit different preferences.
To complement your meal, UYA also offers a selection of side dishes. The assorted tempura, priced at $20 and served with clear tempura sauce, is a great way to start or accompany your meal. The tempura batter is exactly what you’d expect, offering a satisfying crunch.
Another interesting side to try is the Fried Camembert Cheese for $12, which presents a unique twist on cheese-based snacks. These small, deep-fried puffs come out piping hot with gooey cheese inside, making for a delightful treat.
Additionally, the Crispy Bone, priced at $6, is a long deep-fried bone piece that provides a satisfying crunch, adding a unique texture to your meal.
During lunch hours, UYA tends to get quite crowded, even on weekdays and weekends. The restaurant observes a split shift and closes from 3 pm to 5:30 pm for an afternoon break. UYA offers a mix of open-table seating and private rooms for larger groups. Also, it’s worth noting that the restaurant houses a yakitori BBQ grill, adding to the authentic Japanese dining experience.
Wrapping up with drinks
For those interested in beverages, UYA provides free-flow hot or cold green tea when you order teas. In addition, there’s a selection of alcoholic beverages and Nihonshu to choose from. The standout drink here is the Yuja Citron Marmalade Yuzu Tea, priced at $4. This delightful beverage is full of fruity flavor and pairs well with the rich and oily eel dishes.
In conclusion, dining at Uya Japanese Restaurant in Wheelock Place is a unique and authentic experience for eel enthusiasts. The restaurant’s commitment to using the freshest ingredients from Japan is evident in the quality of its eel dishes. Whether you opt for their signature Hitsumabushi, eel don bowls, or other traditional Japanese options, UYA provides a wide range of choices to suit different preferences. While dining here may come at a premium, the exquisite flavors and versatile dining experience make it a must-try for those looking for premium eel dishes in the heart of Orchard, Singapore.
This review is not sponsored by the establishment nor did they provide any editorial input or reimbursements into the content and outcome of this review. All meals were paid for in full out of my own pocket as a regular and anonymous patron.
Must Go! | Actually pretty Good | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
Uya Japanese Restaurant Locality Map
UYA Japanese restaurant Wheelock Place
501 Orchard Rd, #02-15/16
Opening Hours: 12–3pm, 5:30–9:30 pm daily (Split shift)