Ureshii is a vibey Korean-Japanese restaurant in City Hall with geisha-inspired decor and hearty lunch sets featuring Korean-style donkatsu, Jeju abalone porridge & more

by Christabel Tan

Even though I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with my fellow single friends this year, you can still count on me for recommendations, including this vibey date spot — ideal for those looking to impress that special someone.

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Tucked away at The Arts House in City Hall is Ureshii, an underrated Korean-Japanese fusion restaurant opened by the folks behind Tanoshii.

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Step into the 88-seater space and you’ll immediately notice how striking the interior is.

Korean and Japanese aesthetics come together in the form of wood textures, contemporary geisha-inspired artworks, and unique ornaments made by craftsmen.

ureshii
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Every corner of restaurant is IG-worthy, thanks to the atmospheric lighting that bathes diners in sultry red and orange hues.

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Whether you’re on a romantic date or a night out with the girls, you’ll get to relax in one of the cosy nooks with plush sofa seats and black lace curtains.

ureshii
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Otherwise, feel free to sit at the bar if you’d like to unwind over sake or a glass of umeshu.

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Although Ureshii is best known for its exquisite fusion dishes inspired by what royals used to eat back in the day, they’ve recently unveiled a line-up of surprisingly value-for-money Lunch Sets, available daily from 11.30am–2.30pm.

Don’t be put off by the prices, as portions are very generous. The majority of lunch sets are served with rice, soup, side dishes, and refillable barley tea, which make for a hearty and substantial meal.

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If you’ve yet to try Korean tonkatsu (or donkatsu), a dish popularised by eateries like Myung Ga II, the Yetnal Tonkatsu (S$28) is a must-order.

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Ureshii’s take on this beloved “old-style” pork cutlet, regarded as a type of soul food by Koreans, is prepared by pounding black pork sirloin from Hokkaido till thin, before being aged for two days with milk and seasonings, coated with panko breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried till crisp.

The tonkatsu is super meaty, and pairs excellently with tangy and savoury demi-glace sauce.

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For a more indulgent option, the Cordonbur (Cheese Vegetable Tonkatsu, S$28) sees the same deep-fried pork cutlet, but with vegetables and a lot of oozy cheese.

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Unique presentation aside, this tasted rather comforting, reminiscent of Korean-style pizza, but both my dining partner and I found it a tad too cloying after a couple more bites.

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As someone who’s yet to visit Jeju (it’s been on my to-travel list for the longest time…), I was more than eager to tuck into the Jeju Abalone Porridge (S$58). This Jeju Island specialty, also known as jeonbok-juk, is made with the internal organs of the abalone. The good stuff, really.

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All that flavour is concentrated into the porridge, hence the greenish hue, so seafood lovers are in for a real treat. As much I enjoyed the chewy abalone, the porridge on its own was a standout — rich and umami, with a natural oceanic sweetness and an almost buttery mouthfeel.

Other lunch sets include the likes of Osaka Chicken Nanban (S$28), Bibim Somyeon (S$18), and even the less common Deulgireum Maemil (perilla oil cold soba, S$18), which will suit those who prefer something lighter.

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Ureshii is also conveniently located in close proximity to the National Gallery, so you can easily head over to walk walk (and impress your date with your, uh, knowledge of art) after the meal.

So, whether you have V Day plans or not, those who feel like indulging in some exquisite yet unpretentious Japanese and Korean fare can make their reservations here.

Ureshii
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đź“Ť1 Old Parliament Ln, #01-02 The Arts House, Singapore 179429
đź•‘ 11.30am—2.30pm, 6pm–10.30pm (Daily)

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Photos by Christabel Tan

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I'm always feelin' either boozy or boujee ✨????

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