If you have ever walked through the Neil Road pedestrian underpass connecting Keong Siak Road and Duxton, you would have seen the long queue in front of Man Man Unagi Restaurant.
Since opening, the Japanese restaurant has gained fame for its freshly cooked freshwater eels, also known as unagi. Hence, even though personally not a big fan of the grilled eel dish, with its reputation and rave reviews from those who had been before, I was looking forward to trying out the food at Man Man Unagi Restaurant.
Our party arrived at 11.10 am, 20 minutes before the restaurant’s opening time of 11.30 am. Already, the queue had started forming and even though the skies were darkening above us, the line remained firm and steadfast.
“It is ok, this is nothing compared to theme parks queues,” was the thought that ran through my mind to console myself.
Promptly, the doors opened at 11.30 am and we shuffled our way forward, eventually being ushered up the steep flight of stairs into Man Man Unagi Restaurant.
The restaurant sits around 40 patrons at a time. The interior is quite tight, almost reminiscent of restaurants in Tokyo.
Take note that only parties where everyone is present will get seated – so make sure that everyone in your party arrives on time.
Inside Man Man Unagi Restaurant
Close to the entrance is a tank filled with the live eels.
There are tables right next to the tanks which some say you can smell the eels from – probably a good incentive to arrive early to get the seats further inside.
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The eels are grilled behind a glass window, cooked in view of patrons with grill-side seats.
We ordered sets from the menu which – no surprises here – mainly consisted of eel dishes.
Succulent and Flavourful
The food arrived quickly.
The bento-style serving included unagi on rice, pickles and a fresh wasabi which had to be grated against a metal grate. It also came with a “teapot” of dashi stock and a bowl of soup.
The unagi was grilled nicely, succulent and flavourful. For those who like the sweet sauce it gets grilled with, additional sauce is available at the table.
The freshly grated wasabi can be added on to give the dish a bit of bite.
An alternative way of having the unagi is with the dashi stock and rice as a “porridge” of sorts. Personally, we preferred the unagi with the rice.
We also had Man Man Unagi Restaurant’s Umaki or Japanese eel rolled omelette. This is an alternative way to enjoy unagi. The omelette was sweet and fluffy but seemed to overwhelm the eel.
The service at Man Man Unagi Restaurant is highly efficient and with the queues of hungry customers waiting outside in the open, it is understandable why.
Nonetheless, it did feel slightly rushed as the waiters quickly cleared the trays once we were done. The efficient nature of the dining experience is par for the course. The restaurant isn’t a place to linger about with friends and family after a meal.
Nonetheless, the Man Man Unagi Restaurant at Keong Siak Road delivered taste-wise. It is a place to visit if you don’t mind the queues and overly-efficient service in exchange for a good serving of unagi.
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
Where: 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, Singapore 089109