Sunday, February 07, 2016 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

When we are planning our trip to Japan, we know we have to stop by Kobe to eat the famous Kobe beef on it's home town. Kobe Beef is widely considered to be the best beef in the world due to it's lean, sweet meat that melts in your mouth cause of the unique fat marbling that happens through the meat. Many farm go to great length yo raise the cattle in luxury, giving them sake baths, drink beer, hand massaging and hand feeding.

 A little bit more background on the famous Kobe Beef, Kobe beef is not a type or breed cow, but refers to the cuts of beef from a particular strain of wagyu cattle, the Tajima strain. The cattle are born and raised with farm feeding in the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. Kobe beef grading system is created by Marketing and Distribution Promotion association and some of these grades includes; fine meat texture and excellent firmness, a marbling (which Kobe beef is renowned for) of 6-12. 

The bad news is 99.9% real Kobe beef is only available in Japan. There are many shops using the name Kobe to boost up their sells, such as "Kobe Beef Sliders" for $10, they are obviously not the real Kobe beef. In fact, if you ask to the see their Kobe beef certification you'll probably never see them again. Kobe beef was first allowed to be exported internationally in 2012 to Macau then USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand and the amount has been strictly controlled (ex: the total amount exported to USA approximately 430kg of Kobe beef).

Wakkoqu is a well established restaurant in Kobe, it has two branches; one near the Shin-Kobe station and the other in Kitano area. I decided to visit the Shin-Kobe branch just because it was more convenient for a quick lunch and travel back to Kyoto. Their dinner set starts at 7800 yen for 180 gram sliced roast Kobe Beef set and tops out at 13,800 yen for either 250gram Kobe special beef sirloin set or 220gram Kobe special beef tenderloin. Similar with almost all fine dining restaurant in Japan, they served cheaper packages on lunch time. For 5280 yen you'll get multi course set meal with 150grams of Kobe beef sirloin. Reservation is highly recommended to ensure your spot, sometimes if you are lucky you will be able to walk in and get a table near their closing times.

This restaurant celebrates the chef's tremendous skills with class instead of performing tricks (juggling utensils or flaming meats even though we are seated in front of teppanyaki style - pristine steel cooking surface. That does not mean there was no performance, for me it's different kind of performance. Watching the professional chef's handle the beautiful meat and cooked it perfectly is another kind of enjoyment.

It begins with our private chef's warming out the pan and starts with garlic. The chef sliced it thinly and placed it neatly on the teppanyaki flat top grill. While waiting for the garlic, a bowl of soup was delivered to us. It was a delicious and full of flavours cold cream of potato soup, I love it.

When the garlic has turn into golden brown crisps of yummy, they bring out the thick slabs of Kobe beef sirloin that are visually stunning with their intricate marbling and thick casing of fat. Then our chef dissects the sirloin directly on the grill, broken down into spesific components and each cooked one by one which will have different recommendations for seasonings. We're provided with sansho pepper, salt, mustard and ponzu dipping sauce. My favourite was mixing garlic,salt, pepper but mustard and soy is definitely my second favourite.

While waiting for the chef treated the sirloin with alarming accuracy and grouped it into distinct groups for different stages of the course, they served us fresh salads with little pieces of raw mushrooms. 

The first piece of meats is instructed to be eaten solemnly with salt and it was beautiful. The beef just melts into you mouth, it has a buttery and caramelised beef flavours. The first four rounds we're given deliberate instructions on which accompaniment should go with each cut but at the end we are given freedom to eat it as we like.

All the beef has been cooked to a medium rare and every five minutes or less we're served different part of the sirloin. The climax was the fattiest and most tender pieces of the sirloin and it was beyond delicious. While eating this last pieces of amazing meat just close your eyes and feel it's fatty succulency drench in your mouth. Seriously, I don't want it to end. This is the kind of food that will make your taste buds sings in ecstasy.

Our set meat includes a vegetable medley, an assortment of green capsicum, potato, zucchini, tofu and konnyaku - jelly made from elephant yam. These are cooked on the teppan grill with kobe beef fat and it receives the same loving treatment as the beef. Every part of the beautiful Kobe beef sirloin have a purpose, nothing goes to waste.

The included dessert is a lemon sorbet and tea or coffee which are perfect to end a rich meal with a refreshing, sweet, sour taste of lemon.

Overall, I know for sure you will be tempted by this! This is definitely temptations worthy! 

Score: đŸ’‹đŸ’‹đŸ’‹đŸ’‹đŸ’‹

Monday-Sunday: 11.45am-8.30pm
Credit cards: Amex, Visa, JCB, Diners, DC, UC

http://www.wakkoqu.com/ (Japanese)
http://www.wakkoqu.com/english/food.html (English)
1-1 Kitanocho, Chuo-ku
Shinkobe Oriental Avenue, 3F
Kobe 650-0002, Hyogo Prefecture