Last month, I wrote about the rare opportunity to try out one of Japan's top three Wagyu beef brands at Keyaki (Pan Pacific Singapore) between now and 11 September 2015. I finally had the opportunity to head down myself to give the Hagi (S$180++) menu a taste during lunch.
The first dish that I sampled was the Pike Eel in Vinegar Miso Dressing. The delicate flesh of the pike eel is brought to life with a sweet and light vinegar dressing. The sweet and the slight acidity (from the lemon) of the pike eel definitely helps to prepare your palate for the next dish.
The next dish utilised approximately 60g of the prized Yonezawa Wagyu Beef and it is sliced thinly and lightly seared before serving. The result? An incredible flavour that is just beyond words. Just as a little background, the Yonezawa district in Japan features mountainous terrain and mineral-rich earth. Therefore, Yonezawa cattle feeds off the premium Japanese rice straw that is produced in the region.
The next dish was a simple Chawanmushi (Steam Egg Custard). While the egg custard was incredibly smooth and the flavours were very well-balanced, there was really nothing much to shout about. In fact, I was slightly surprised that this was part of the menu as it did not really seem to fit the rest of the theme.
Following the chawanmushi, the Wagyu Sirloin Teppanyaki was served next. Your preference for doneness of the Wagyu sirloin will be taken at the start of your meal and as for me, I decided to go with medium rare. This 120g (approximate) of umami goodness is just beautifully seasoned and the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the Yonezawa Wagyu was once again enough to leave all of us speechless. If you are a beef lover, you are definitely going to love this elegantly-marbled A5 grade (the highest grade there is!) prized Wagyu.
Following the most incredible plate of perfectly-done Wagyu beef was a rather ordinary plate of Salmon Sashimi and Salad. The ingredients used were fresh and the salad dressing was delicious but once again there was nothing much to rave about since it is expected for a restaurant like Keyaki to deliver the finest ingredients and execution.
Finally, the carbohydrate that everyone has been waiting for! The Steamed Wagyu Ribeye on Rice comes in a steamed bamboo basket and it is very lightly seasoned. The natural and delicate flavours of the Wagyu comes through very easily without the need for any additional involvement from the chef - that is truly the beauty with using exquisite ingredients. While the dish may seem simple to execute, I have to say this was my personal favourite dish from that afternoon.
For a sweet finish, Japanese musk melon and mango was served to neutralise the palate. There are three different menus that you can opt for to sample the rare Yonezawa Wagyu Beef. While it may initially feel pretty expensive, it is important to note that the exportation of Yonezawa Wagyu Beef is not an easy feat and it is definitely not something that you can easily expect to find in other hotels or even Keyaki in the near future. Prized Wagyu is often kept for domestic consumption (at a high price) and it takes a ton of negotiations to get something so valuable out of the country. If you are truly a beef lover, this is definitely a rare opportunity to savour the best grade (A5) of one of the top three Wagyu brands in Japan.