Celebrate the finest steak in the world at Matsuri
Wagyu – The Holy Grail for any lover of red meat seeking the ultimate steak.
Prized as possibly the most tender, succulent beef available on the planet, Wagyu is produced from four main breeds of cattle, developed in Imperial Japan to yield meat of the highest quality. One of the few places in London to serve the best examples of this luxury beef is Matsuri, a well established Teppan-yaki restaurant at the heart of St James’s. Teppan-yaki meals are cooked on a hot plate right before your eyes, so you can be assured of their freshness, and also get to marvel at the chef ’s skill. Our chef Sudo-san obliged even further by allowing us to meet our starter, a lobster, still alive, and brought out from the kitchen to say hello (an extreme example of eating only the freshest produce that might make some diners a little squeamish). The lobster is quickly dispatched, returned neatly cut into pieces, and grilled, its twitching limbs perhaps not death throes, but most likely caused by the heat and bubbling fat. With graceful, efficient movements Sudo-san cooks the lobster to perfection using only oil and white wine to flavour. It’s presented simply with asparagus stalks and shiitake mushrooms, and a bowl of ponzu sauce for dipping. Then the main event is presented, a 300g slab of sirloin Wagyu, with its distinctive marbled fat, pink and much less bloody than a regular steak. Wagyu, we are told, is graded in quality from 1-10. At Matsuri only grades 7 or 8 are used (9 being virtually impossible to get hold of, and 10 non-existent). They import theirs from Australia, where the age-old Japanese breeds and rearing techniques are used. Sudo-san cooks our steak medium rare (highly recommended, though the choice is yours), simply seasoned and diced, served with vegetables, and a choice of dipping sauces, spicy or creamed wasabi (again, optional, but it’s recommended to try the meat on its own). So, how does it taste? What hits you immediately is the intense flavour, and that succulent, juicy texture produced by the unsaturated marbled fat. It really does seem to melt in your mouth. Of course, this all comes at a price, a 200g Wagyu steak can cost around £100, but if your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far, Scottish sirloin comes in at £28, or choose from Matsuri’s extensive menu including sushi and tempura dishes. A new sake bar is also set to open on July 1st at the restaurant, which this summer will be catering for Japan’s Olympic committee, staying on nearby Park Lane. Wagyu making an appearance on the VIPs’ menu, no doubt.