Find out what it's like to enjoy the unparalleled flavors and textures of the Japanese Olive Wagyu melt-in-the-mouth beef.
When we talk about the rarest steak in the world, we're not referring to the way it's cooked. This delectable delicacy is almost impossible to get your chopsticks into, even in some of the most exclusive restaurants in Japan. Only a few places are serving the A5 grade (that's the highest quality out there) olive-fed Wagyu. We heard that the simply designed and impossibly elegant eatery Steakhouse Shiki was a top spot, so we booked a space at the immaculate counter.
Teppanyaki Cooking Awakens Your Senses
As we stepped into this lovely little restaurant, the minimalist design immediately told us we were in for a treat. Japanese style is famously paired-back, and this light, bright room epitomized the tradition. The space has enough soft furnishings and warmth to feel comfortable while remaining uncomplicated enough to tell you this experience is all about the senses.
Teppanyaki cooking happens atop an iron griddle, which is located directly in front of diners at Shiki. This modern style of cuisine first appeared after World War II, and the word is a combination of teppan - the term for the metal plate, and yaki - meaning pan-fried. The open kitchen showcases the skill of these chefs, whose craft has been honed over many years and is apparent in the systematic approach to the preparation of each ingredient.
This method of cookery titillates each of your five senses. The sound of sizzling accompanies the mouth-watering aromas from the moment you're seated at the counter. You feast your eyes on the precision of the chefs while enjoying the unparalleled flavors and textures of this melt-in-the-mouth beef.
The Main Event
With the teppan as his stage, the chef begins the show. Razor-thin sliced garlic of the highest quality is scattered, with oil poured over the top of it. The heat is so exact that the fat doesn't bubble and omits a faint, almost indistinguishable murmur. Never have you seen a single ingredient treated with such care, each slice is separated and cooked to perfection, infusing the oil and the air with its marvelous scent.
Once golden brown, the garlic is put to one side, and chef asks how you'd like it cooked - medium rare, of course. When presented with this steak, you can hardly believe your eyes. The marbling of the meat - the fat running through each millimeter of the flesh, giving it the appearance of marble - is so exquisite, the color is the palest shade of pink. As it cooks, these minuscule threads of flavor melt into the surrounding meat, facilitating a tenderness that allows the chef to cut through it like butter.
Minimal Accompaniments Allow the Quality to Shine
In true Japanese style, the server lays out the condiments to accompany your meal while the steak is cooked. There's no steak sauce in sight; only the most subtle and delicate of flavors are allowed to allow the star of the show to stand out. Wasabi, two types of soy sauce and the varieties of salt from France, Pakistan and Italy are all you need to enhance this most precious of treats.
The chef himself slices the steak eight times to cook it to perfection, seasoning with cracked black pepper and sea salt halfway through the process. By the time chef adds the first five slices to your plate, alongside the garlic, your hunger has reached heights previously unknown. Once you finish the first five, the next five are finished and served and then the final five. By the last serving, the meat has had a long rest - making it even more exceptional than the first and second.
The tasting is a symphony of the juiciest and most sumptuous taste sensations. Anyone who loves steak should make it a priority to try olive Wagyu.
How is Olive Wagyu Produced?
This premium cut comes from rare black Wagyu cows who fed on an extraordinary diet. It consists of toasted olives that have had their oil removed, grain, seasonal vegetables and seafood. This high-fat diet is what causes the incredible marbling while imparting a sweet, umami flavor to the final product. Only around 70 producers are making this type of beef in the whole of Japan, so coming across it on a menu outside of the country is impossible.
So, if you're a collector of fine-food experiences, you need to get yourself to Japan to sample this unprecedented culinary phenomenon. We can guarantee you'll never have had anything else like it.