October 17, 2017

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant 鳗满, NEW 2nd Outlet @ DUO Galleria ~ Full Of Grilled Freshwater Eel Goodness

My man of the moment is undeniably..... Man Man 鳗满 ! <3

Opened by Chef Teppei Yamashita, the flagship store at Keong Saik Road is widely-known for being the first Japanese unagi specialty restaurant in Singapore, its delicious grilled eel that bagged a Michelin Bib Gourmand status, and forever long queue.

Okay lah, not exactly "forever", but stories of having to stand in line for any time between 30 minutes to 2 hours in less-than-favorable weather conditions without any shelter just to enjoy an unagi meal are not unheard of.

So the opening of a second Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant at DUO Galleria (directly connected to Bugis mrt station EW12/DT14) came as great news for those who wish to skip the waiting torture yet get a taste of what's the hype all about. Last we heard, there isn't any long queue at this 2nd outlet yet.

I asked my BFF to visit Man Man DUO with me and he rejected me outright! Why why why?

The reason turned out to be not me, but those long, snake-like eels which are being cut alive and prepared in front of diners. In his words: "Wah, they cut the unagi live! Count me out, I very squeamish. Later no appetite haha"

Those who feel similarly about it can have no worries, as the live eel cutting only takes place at the Keong Saik Road store, and not at the DUO outlet.

We can still watch the grilling process through the glass of the open kitchen, but it could be a case of "no killing, less entertaining" for some. There is no win-win situation to suit all.

My interest is more on menu offerings at Man Man DUO. Some items are exclusive to this store, including a couple of newly-introduced ala-carte dishes.

I almost didn't want to try the Kimoyaki ($10.80) when the staff explained to me that it is grilled eel liver. Err, fish innards? Eventually, my dining companion and I decided to be a bit more adventurous and went ahead the order. The tiny pieces of grilled eel liver turned out to be rich-tasting and had a pleasant chewy texture. It was an absolute delight.

Though the Unagi Bone Crackers ($6.60) may not sound the most enticing, each piece was delightfully crunchy. Great if you're looking for looking for light bites to go with your beer.

We couldn't resist the soft, fluffy deliciousness of the Umaki ($14.10) or rolled unagi omelette too.

The highlight of the meal was of course, the charcoal-grilled unagi. It can be enjoyed in two different ways, either Kabayaki or Shirayaki style.

Filleted, skewered, and grilled over charcoal fire, the eel is then finished with tare or unagi sauce. This is known as the Kabayaki cooking-style.

For Shirayaki, the eel is also grilled, but without the tare sauce and seasoned only with salt.

My preference lies with the former for its tasty, sweet-savory sauce. The salted version did not impress as much, but might appeal to unagi aficionados who prefer a lighter, unadulterated taste.

Depending on on your preferred serving size, prices starts from $20.50 for Donburi (rice bowl), $29.50 for Hitsumabushi (Nagoya-style) and $29.50 Teisyoku (set meal) onwards.

My recommendation would be: Go for the Shira Kaba Large Hitsumabushi ($39.40)! This is available only at DUO shop, and allows you to try both the shirayaki and kabayaki unagi in one bowl.

For the uninitiated, Hitsumamushi is a Nagoya specialty where unagi rice bowl can savored in three different ways. First, divide the contents into four portions, and:-
  1. Eat it as it is
  2. Add in condiments such as freshly-grated wasabi, seaweed and spring onions
  3. Add in condiments and pour in the dashi broth, ochazuke-style
For the last portion, have it whichever way you prefer best! My favorite is the ochazuke-style which is so flavorsome and comforting.

We loved that the unagi pieces were thick and fleshy with a soft bite. It is very fresh too with no weird smell. Portion is considered to be generous.

The Double Large Hitsumabushi ($71.50) can be said to be the ultimate indulgence. Besides the top layer of unagi slabs threatening to fall over the bowl anytime, there was more unagi hidden beneath the rice as we dug further in. We were totally stoked!

Other than the typical Takeaway Bento ($20.50 onwards), the self-heating Steamed Steamed Lunch Box ($36.40) is available as on-the-go meal options as well.

The greatest drawback about Man Man DUO could be its space constraint with very cramped seating. While the chairs at the main counter and table were okay, those who were seated at the window bar had negative feedback on the uncomfortable bar stools. Another of my friend was allocated a bar seat and ended up having his entire meal standing. #truestory

Ventilation was real bad, and it felt freaking hot. If these issues can be ironed out in time to come, it will certainly be beneficial for a better dining experience.

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant 鳗满
Address: 7 Fraser Street, #01-48 DUO Galleria, Singapore 189356
Contact: Not available
Website: Not available
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-2.15pm & 6pm-9.45pm (last order) / Closed on Sun

Prices are stated in Singapore dollars and subject to 7% GST (no service charge). Information is correct at point of published date.

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