Wagyu comes from Wa meaning Japanese or Japanese Style and Gyu the Japanese word for a cow. Wagyu can in fact come from anywhere and, until recently, has been coming from anywhere but Japan owing to restrictions on export due to a foot and mouth outbreak there. We’ve had to make do with Australian and American versions, often hybrids.
Not any more though. and ZEN-NOH, the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, Japan’s largest agricultural federation is leading the stampede.
Invited to a tasting lunch of Wagyu at Nobu Mayfair I hesitated for a about a nanosecond before accepting. This kind of invite doesn’t come every day after all.
According to the experts Authentic Wagyu beef is distinguished by its Ã¢â‚¬Å“incredible eating quality, from the characteristic intense marbling to its unrivalled rich and buttery flavour, along with melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and juiciness. The moist and succulent taste is complemented by its aroma; Wagyu beef has a unique and full-bodied scent, which is also sweet, with peach and coconut tones.Ã¢â‚¬Â Gosh, you don’t get that in a Harvester do you.
Interestingly Wagyu beef is rich in amino acids and contains a great deal more oleic acid, a type of mono-unsaturated fatty acid, than other beef. This apparently makes Wagyu beef a healthier product. The fat found on authentic Wagyu beef melts quickly through the meat, filling it with moisture.
It was all delightful, the grilled steak more like a fine piece of foie gras than steak; no chewiness which for some misses out on the point of a grilled steak, but melt in the mouth butteriness instead. And while it would perhaps be an overstatement to say I felt healthy afterwards, weaving my way back to Soho, I didn’t have the meat sweats or sense of impending cardiac arrest I so often get from a steak blow out.
So look out for real Wagyu in the restaurants, it’s better than you imagine and now it’s the genuine article. .