Food Reviews

Umai Artisanal Udon Bar Review: Tokyo-Viral Flat Udon, Miso Carbonara And More By Omote

Umai Artisanal Udon Bar is a new udon restaurant in Bugis

It’s not hard to get a decent bowl of udon in Singapore: there’s Idaten Udon for affordable DIY noodle bowls, handmade udon shop Tamoya Udon And Tempura in Paya Lebar, and the list goes on. Udon specialty restaurants, on the other hand, are a rarity. Enter Umai Artisanal Udon Bar, a new udon-focused restaurant in Bugis opened by the same team behind Omote.

Food at Umai Artisanal Udon Bar

There’s a whopping total of 25 udon dishes on the menu, split into four popular Japanese noodle types of varying thickness and width: Hippari, Sanuki, Hoto, and Himokawa. Hippari is the thinnest, followed by Sanuki, said to be the most common udon in Singapore, and Hoto that’s slightly fatter than our local ban mian. Himokawa is the TikTok-viral flat udon that’s popular in Ginza, which we’ve also covered in our recent Tokyo food guide!

We started with the Spicy Prawn Hibachi ($18++): Hippari udon, seared tiger prawns, and minced black pork, drenched in a rich and robust crustacean soup.

I was most impressed by how gao the broth was; it reminded me of our local hae mee, but on steroids—the soup was thicker, heavier, and almost gravy-like after sitting out for a while. Flavour-wise, it boasted heady prawn notes with a rich depth sweetness from the crustacean. I could tell this soup took hours of brewing.

Unfortunately, the thin and flat udon was too soft for my liking, despite taking them out of the piping hot broth as soon as the dish arrived. I think a thicker noodle type would have worked better here.

On a brighter note, the Miso Carbonara ($19++) fared better. Starring Hanuki udon, parmesan, pecorino cheese, and a thicc slab of 72-hour slow-cooked Black Pork, this number was a flavour bomb.

The noodles were perfectly springy with a good bite. When coated in that gloriously creamy sauce that’s also studded with bits of applewood-smoked bacon and duck, each bite was packed with umami.

The slow-cooked pork slab was equally delightful, with a generous layer of fat that melted in my mouth without much work.

Alternating between the creamy udon sauce with the unctuous pork and bacon bits got a tad jelak halfway through, so I’d recommend sharing this with a friend if you have a lighter palate.

I was rather excited for our next main, the Chilli Pan Mee ($15++), as I’ve tried and loved the KL dry noodles from Prince Noodles. Umai’s version came with a smorgasbord of toppings, including black pork slices, anchovies, a poached egg, and fried shallots.

In true pan mee fashion, we broke into the yolk and mixed all the liao before tucking in.

The wide Hoto udon was al dente with a firm bite, each strand coated with caramelised clam sauce. I loved the QQ noodles but thought that the sauce and other components were too sweet. Sadly, the clam sauce was lacking in the umami department and did not add much flavour or depth to the overall dish, too.

Our final dish, the Himokawa Udon with Niku Shabu & Tempura Deluxe Set ($23++), made a lasting impression. The elaborate set came with a bowl of Himokawa udon, served cold or in hot soup, with some beef shabu on the side, accompanied by assorted tempura and two dipping sauces.

If this flat and wide udon looks familiar, that’s because it’s been making its rounds all over TikTok!

I’ve not tried the popular Ginza version, but Umai’s rendition was delicious. We chose to have the udon served chilled, which turned out to be an excellent choice as each noodle strand had the perfect bite.

There’s a bowl of peanut sauce served on the side for dipping, but I found it to be sweeter than I’d liked, drawing the attention away from the udon.

You also get a tempura platter to enjoy your carbs with. Although it was a good mix, the tempura was rather lacklustre on its own—the batter was on the thicker side and wasn’t that flavourful. Nonetheless, the deep-fried items added a pleasant textural contrast to the silky-smooth noodles. The portion was decent for the price tag as well.

There’s a small range of rice bowls and sides on the menu for those who aren’t big on udon, but I’d recommend you give their noodle dishes a shot since they’re an udon bar!

Ambience at Umai Artisanal Udon Bar

While Umai is fairly spacious, most seats were already taken up when we visited at 1pm on a weekday, probably because it’s surrounded by office buildings. The atmosphere is fun and casual here, with cute motifs and illustrations dotted throughout the space—it’s giving Dumpling Darlings vibes.

Umai Artisanal Udon Bar is located in Guocco Midtown, a new mixed-development in Bugis with dining, retail, residential, and office units. It’s a six-minute walk from Bugis MRT Station.

The verdict

I think this new udon joint is an ingenious concept, especially if you love noodles as much as I do. The variety you get, coupled with the hearty portions, make Umai a welcome addition to the Bugis hood. While there were a couple of misses on our visit—my main gripe was that the sauces leaned sweet—the dishes were well-executed overall.

After checking out Umai, head to the Taiwan-famous Louisa Coffee right across the road at the next building! In related news, Mashi no Mashi by Wagyu specialist Wagyumafia is also set to open next to Umai soon.

Address: 128 Beach Road, #01-05, Guoco Midtown, Singapore 189771
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Tel: 8748 3750
Website
Umai Artisanal Udon Bar is not a halal-certified eatery.

Photos taken by Kaedynce Chew.
This was a media tasting at Umai Artisanal Udon Bar.

Umai Artisanal Udon Bar Review: Viral Flat Udon, Miso Carbonara And More By Omote
  • 8/10
    Umai Artisanal Udon Bar Review: Viral Flat Udon, Miso Carbonara And More By Omote - 8/10
8/10

Summary

Pros
– 25 udon dishes to choose from
– Convenient location
– Value-for-money portions 

Cons
– Dishes leaned sweet
– Noodles in Spicy Prawn Hibachi were too soft

Recommended dishes: Miso Carbonara ($19++), Himokawa Udon with Niku Shabu & Tempura Deluxe Set ($23++)

Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 8:30pm

Address: 128 Beach Road, #01-05, Guoco Midtown, Singapore 189771

Anthia Chng

Living on a well-balanced diet of cake and coffee

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Anthia Chng

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