This spiny, spherical produce, usually imported from Japan, is sought-after by chefs. Below, the top restaurants in Singapore to enjoy this orange delicacy.
In a temple-like calm setting, master chef Tomoo Kimura quietly focuses his attention on the last course: the signature bakudan rice bowl. He pours a mixture of uni, ikura, chopped toro and Japanese organic onsen eggs over small bowls of rice and serves them to his guests. The soft and slightly chewy rice grains (Tsuya-hime organic rice from a family farm in Yamagata prefecture cooked with Hokkaido spring water) mingle with the lightly whisked egg from herb-fed chickens, and the richness of the golden orange uni. The chef brings in different types of uni depending on the season and availability. The restaurant normally uses bafun (short spike) or murasaki (long spike). “Aka uni (red ones) have very short season and the best quality is very hard to find,” says the chef.
Odette’s chef-owner Julien Royer ensures that there’s always strict seasonality to the produce he uses. This includes the uni he sources for his starter that has gone through various reincarnations (the chef has largely modified the presentation since he introduced this dish in the menu). In Royer’s 2018 summer menu, you can expect an exquisite dish of Hokkaido uni whose shell is filled with delicate tartare of botan ebi and crowned with an airy mussel foam, five lobes of golden uni, gleaming caviar and gold leaves. Served on the side are crisp squid ink toasts topped with brown butter and several plump slivers of uni. The chef scatters some finger lime pulp for an acidic punch, pretty edible flowers and chives over the refined snack.
Top chef Tetsuya Wakuda who calls Singapore his second home ensures that his cuisine at Waku Ghin shines with the natural flavours of the ingredients, many flown in from Australia and Japan. Synonymous with Waku Ghin is this signature of lightly marinated botan ebi paired with delicate tongues of sea urchin from Hokkaido and a generous mound of briny caviar. Currently, the restaurant is using the clean tasting, subtly briny Murasaki uni (known as purple sea urchin) from Hokkaido, sweet botan shrimp from Canada and caviar farmed in China by a French Caviar company.
Marina Bay Sands. Level 2 Dining, L2-01. Access via The Shoppes, Bay Level, L1. Tel: 6688 8888 www.marinabaysands.com
At this well-established modern European restaurant at Purvis Street, guests get to savour sweet, fresh lobes of uni from Japan, served in the spiny shell. Chef-owner Gunther Hubrechsen says, “I prefer to use live uni that’s still in the shell instead of those that come in a box, because it’s more flavourful and doesn’t have preservatives.” The rich and creamy uni is garnished with glossy French caviar and a scattering of seaweed. And trapped beneath this luxurious combination? A touch of local flavour – chicken rice made with lemongrass, ginger, chicken stock and fat.
Brasserie Les Saveurs’ new chef de Cuisine, Kenny Chung, has recently rolled out his signature Japanese sea urchin and Alaskan crab. The chef dices the succulent king crab meat and tosses this with chopped shallots, chives and wasabi mayonnaise. He then seasons the mixture with tabasco, sea salt flakes and crushed pepper. The tossed mixture is place inside a hollowed-out sea urchin shell, and elegantly topped with fresh sea urchin from Hokkaido, caviar, fresh cress and flowers.
Terra’s Chef-owner Seita Nakahara is known for forging his unique culinary crossroads of Japan and Italy. For his ever-changing omakase menus, authentic Italian cooking is married with the best Japanese produce including uni. He gets the sea urchin from various sources, depending on whichever prefecture is able to supply during the season. The chef uses this precious ingredient for a few different types of dishes, but this is of course dependent on its availability. Some of Terra’s most popular signatures are the lightly crisp bruschetta topped with thick slivers of uni... (continued on next slide)
...as well as the slurp-worthy pasta, generously fused with sweet, smooth uni.