|No Beef with Wagyu Steak!|
The Cabin Grill's Japanese speciality proves a hit
There’s a whole mythology about Wagyu beef ; about the way the cattle are reared, with massages and a special diet of grains, racehorse grass and hay, supplemented with beer.
The technique which was perfected in Japan (‘wa ‘means ‘Japanese’ and’ gyu’ means ‘cattle’) gives the meat a more marbled appearance with much more texture and buttery tenderness than the plastic-packed supermarket steak around. The meat is highly-prized and often expensive and difficult to source.
The Cabin Grill , on the former Tootsies site on the High Road, has featured a Wagyu burger (£ 14.90) on its regular menu since it opened over a year ago. The popularity of this burger has prompted the restaurant to run an entire ‘Wagyu Festival’ which started on October 1st and runs until the 31st. During the festival, diners can try out proper wagyu steaks in addition to the burger while the regular menu is still available with fish and vegetarian alternatives throughout the month.
It was my first experience of Wagyu beef - I wonder if it could possibly be a first for Chiswick - and I was keen to know whether it lived up to the promise. The steaks here are not enormous , which reflects the very competitive price of £23 for a 7 oz sirloin and £ 21 for an 8-oz rib-eye but they are tender and tasty. I had the rib-eye, cooked medium, and there was plenty in the 8 oz version with a delicious béarnaise sauce and thrice cooked chunky chips. My date for the night was my 15-year old son, Daniel, who knows a decent bit of meat when he sees it, and he gave the thumbs up to the burger- I tried a bit in the interests of research and it was very good with lots of flavour,served with tomato relish and fries.
Though the Wagyu cattle originate in Japan ,the beef in the restaurant is sourced from Australia and America. There is often confusion between Wagyu and Kobe beef. As I understand it, land and grain are expensive in Japan, so raising the cattle is contracted out to farmers outside Japan. The legendary Kobe beef, which costs about £200 a pound comes from Wagyu cattle which have to be raised in Kobe ( similar to the way Champagne is only allowed to be labelled thus if it is from the specific area of France). The Wagyu cattle are raised in the traditional Japanese manner -the massage with oil improves the texture of the fat, and the beer is to stimulate their appetites.
The standard menu is still on offer during the Festival which means you can have Scotch sirloin 8oz/12oz (£ 15.95/21.50), or rump 8oz/12oz (£15.95/21.50) or a Yorkshire fillet steak (7oz, £19.95) with béarnaise, green peppercorn, garlic and herb butter, on the side, and either chips, mash, or salad.
The menu includes a wide selection of main courses ranging from mussels, or salmon, or sea bass for fish-lovers, to butternut squash salad with quinoa, feta, spinach and green beans for vegetarians , or a baked aubergine parmigiana. Other main course suggestions include Ribs, Chicken Caesar salad, or Thai beef salad. Mains cost from £10.50 to the most expensive item, which is the Wagyu burger at £14.50.
There are also Lobster specials , and Surf and Turf deals available.
Starters are very seafood-oriented with oysters, clam chowder, prawn and crayfish cocktail , steamed mussels, and skewer or tiger prawns, beef, peppers and chorizo. Prices for starters average around £6 or £7.
We finished our meal with a delicious berry crème brulee and a vanilla ice cream. Had we wanted cocktails, there is a comprehensive list, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. And there are plenty of choices for a glass of wine to accompany your Wagyu steak.
5 October, 2011