I was invited to attend an experience premium Japanese food and drink event. It was held at the InterContinental London Park Lane. The purpose of the event was to promote the export of Japanese agriculture, marine and food products. The emphasis was on five major categories rice, beef, tea, flowers & bonsai and marine products. This was an extremely important event with lots of VIPs and I felt very privileged to have been invited.
I attended a seminar in which I learned about and got to sample Wagyu beef. This was my first time sampling Wagyu beef, it’s actually only been exported to the UK since 2014, so I was very eager to try some. Whilst the speakers were explaining about the highly regarded beef an award winning butcher was literally preparing the beef ready for us to try.
Japan’s wagyu is unique for it’s extensive marbling and very strict grading system, it also holds a logo which guarantees authenticity.
The melting point for wagyu fat is very low and can even be melted at body temperature. I can testify to this, I was brave enough to hold a piece of the butchered fat between my fingers and it almost dissolved into hand cream.
I was given a gorgeous brochure which went into great depth about the beef and how it is raised and graded and the different ways it can be served.
During the seminar I sampled it thinly sliced with soy sauce. To be honest I immediately thought of a donner kebab! Once I tasted it I very quickly dismissed the thought.
It is very different to any beef I have tasted before. It has a rich taste and a deep aroma and is very succulent. It was very savoury and sweet at the same time. It is suggested in the literature that it tastes of coconut and peach, I can’t agree I picked up on that but there was definitely a contrast in the taste.
Once the seminars were over everyone was invited into the main ballroom where a reception was held to sample the delights Japan had to offer.
The Wagyu beef was proudly on display as well as the sake and gorgeous flowers, the chefs were busy, focused on slicing the fish for the beautiful sashimi.
Being a foodie I immediately spotted an area where there were small dishes of food all neatly displayed ready to be announced. Fellow foodies huddled round. We were like runners at the start line bursting to get going.
Char grilled wagyu sirloin, confit garlic potato purée, English asparagus tips
Coco dusted seared yellow tail tuna, shaved fennel, orange and avocado salad Mizo glazed scallop, soba noodles, tempura green onions
English truffle and wild mushroom risotto, shaved Berkswell ewes milk cheese
Sencha poached chicken breast on a Spring salad of baby gem, green peas, broad beans, radish, lemon dressing
Once we were given the green light I pounced. My sights were set on the char grilled wagyu sirloin, confit garlic potato purée, English asparagus tips. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous! Star of the show!
There was a truffle risotto showcasing Japanese rice, I wasn’t quick enough to sample this dish. It smelt amazing though.
I did get to try sencha (green tea) poached chicken breast and a Mizo glazed scallop with a delicious tempura green onion. I also wolfed down a beautiful Japanese strawberry eaton mess!
I got to sample some sparkling sake and a few sweet treats.
What a fantastic way to spend an evening, transported to Japan in the heart of London only just a short walk away from my office.