Home Cooked

Homecooked: Uni caviar pasta

Uni has got to be one of my all time favorite premium ingredients, quite possibly my favorite. Caviar is right up there with it, why do the two go together so damn well? The sweet unctuous flavor of the uni, usually coming with a hint of bitterness, combined with the briny and often complex flavor of the caviar, they seem to pair perfectly together. I first saw a combination of the two on one of Anthony bourdains shows, I believe it was the aptly titled ‘Food porn’ episode, Eric Ripert prepared it in his kitchen and it was truly an eye opener. I immediately listed it down as one of the things I have to eat before I die. 

Unfortunately, I did not have the dish when I was at Le Bernardin, I really doubt that I will go back anytime soon, so late last year I set out to recreate the dish at home. It is one of the simplest dishes to make, but the cooking of the pasta and the sauce have to be absolutely spot on. The uni is first blended, then passed through a tamis, then folded into soft butter to basically make a uni compound butter. The butter is that turned into a beurre monte and the pasta is dressed in it. It is basically a uni flavored butter sauce, incredibly rich and heavy. The first time I made it, it looked a little something like this




I used spaghetti over the linguini that was called for in the recipe, I cant remember if I did this because all I had was spaghetti, but I do remember thinking that the pasta should be thinner: More sauce, more decadence. I also did not manage to get my hands on osetra caviar because I was a pretty poor guy serving the army in Singapore, bringing home $400 a month.

Fast forward to September, I wanted to do the dish again, but do it right this time. This is my second take on the dish


I went with angel hair this time, I personally think it works better with the dish. The breakdown is as such: Angel hair pasta dressed in an uni beurre monte, topped with osetra caviar, kissed with specks of chive and threads of parmesan, drops of lemon juice, uni-milk foam, and edible gold leaf.

This is the kind of dish I can only afford to make one a year. This is as close to the original Ripert dish as I want to go, I think the uni milk foam is a nice balance to the very heavy sauce, it is lighter, and carries a very calming sweetness to it, contrasting the heavy and very punchy flavor of the uni beurre monte. The gold leaf is there because… well, it is the kind of dish that calls for it.


OTTO, Singapore

Grilled Mushroom with Polenta

Amuse Bouche, I liked the choice of polenta as the canvas for the dish, but the mushroom lacked enough flavour to bring the amuse to life. Bad

Grilled “Tomino” cheese with sauteed porcini mushroom and “Pio Tosini” Parma Ham

A generous topping of Parma ham, a layer of mushrooms, a slab of cheese grilled to absolute perfection. An explosion of strong flavours that balance and compliment each other well. Salty, creamy, unctuous, earthy, delicious. Superb

“Spaghetti” with sea urchin and grey mullet bottarga.

Plate was completely dry, all the sauce was on the pasta when it arrived, clearly a restaurant that knows how to do a pasta. It was a good dish that could have done with a little more oil, and dare I say it, a smaller serving. But the flavours were on point. Good

USDA prime beef rib eye with sauteed potatoes and Barolo wine reduction.

Beef was nicely cooked but under seasoned, wine reduction was tasty but there wasn’t enough on the plate for three slabs of beef. Okay

Warm chocolate cake with Haitian Vanilla ice cream

It takes a lot for me to dislike a molten chocolate cake. I wound’t normally order it, but I generally like them. This, however, was bad. The cake lacked contrast in texture between the cake and the liquid center. It was hard to tell what you were eating after a while, mixing it in with the quickly melting vanilla ice cream only made it worse. Bad

The menu we had was part of the Restaurant week, Singapore. I walked into OTTO not knowing what to expect, I had heard good things about Garibaldi, and I was disappointed that it was one of the restaurants on the restaurant week list, I jumped on the chance to have dinner at OTTO as a ‘compromise’. And I’m glad I did. The starter Parma ham and grilled is probably the best dish I’ve had in Singapore so far. I will definitely be returning to try more dishes at OTTO, but is it wrong that I already know what starter I’m going to ask for?