You’ve heard of Wagyu beef right? Japanese, expensive, served in restaurants where the prices act as a force field to keep the riff raff out, but paradoxically allow footballers in.

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 “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.” 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.

At Nobu they served it every which way but loose: tataki with wasabi and salsa, as sashimi, as sushi, as shabu shabu and finally as a grilled steak. They did not, thankfully serve it as a burger.

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. .