Eat Drink KL: The Wagyu Restaurant: Grilling KL's greatest exploration of Japanese A5 wagyu beef

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Wagyu Restaurant: Grilling KL's greatest exploration of Japanese A5 wagyu beef

Wagyu beef is increasingly available across KL's restaurants, but The Wagyu Restaurant remains an extraordinary experience.

Bringing in the meat of whole cows bred in Japan's Tokushima Prefecture, this Japanese-owned establishment offers an exploration of virtually every cut you can imagine, beyond tenderloins, sirloins and ribeyes.

A meal here is not only deeply enjoyable but distinctively educational, helping patrons better understand the entire spectrum of wagyu beef, from rib fingers to flanks.

For this purpose, the beef is the best possible - The Wagyu Restaurant's meat is purely A5 and A4 wagyu from Japan, the highest of wagyu grades, exceeding even the top USDA grades.

Chef Morimoto handles this meat with the utmost care and respect, slicing, trimming and plating it in a butcher's cool room, temperature-controlled at 10 degrees Celsius. This ensures customers receive the beef at its optimum, before its fat melts, ready to be grilled yakiniku-style at your table.

Expect exquisitely marbled beef, extremely tender with emphatic flavours. If you love Japanese beef, The Wagyu Restaurant is our best bet in KL's city centre for a thoughtfully crafted feast.

We returned recently to The Wagyu Restaurant, two years after our first visit, to see how this space has evolved. It's more comfortable than ever, with private rooms that The Wagyu Restaurant shares with its sister eatery, The 19th Suzuki Hanten, in this two-level bungalow on Lorong Yap Kwan Seng. The private rooms are beautifully and lovingly furnished, intimate yet spacious.

The Wagyu Restaurant has reopened with a WAGYU TABEHOUDAI!! All You Can Eat promotion, showcasing A4 and A5 wagyu beef from Japan.

This promotion is priced at:
RM288 per person (adult)
Free for toddlers (0-6 years old)
RM144 for kids (7-12 years old)
RM258 for senior citizens (65 years old and above)

Book your seats by contacting 03-2161-6699 or Whatsapp:012-276-7016

Dine-in is only permitted for fully vaccinated patrons with strict SOPs.

Customers can also order from the a la carte menu.

The ideal introduction to this wagyu wonderland is the Wagyu Beef Big Plate (RM368; for four to five persons to share), a seasonal selection of five diverse cuts of meat, strikingly served in a princely presentation. Contrasting textures and flavours take you from full-bodied and fleshy to lusciously fatty to pleasurably chewy sensations.

The Wagyu Restaurant is run by wagyu distribution professionals, serving beef at reasonable prices. Each month, it receives halal-certified blocks of the pure meat of a whole cow, weighing about 350 kilograms without bones, including limited parts rarely seen in mainstream restaurants.

Those prized parts make The Wagyu Restaurant a dynamic destination. Whether you prefer cuts with the texture of tendons or with a lightly marinated flavour and a gentle chew, there's always a different cut to discover here. There's no wastage at The Wagyu Restaurant - every cut is treasured.

Each cut conveys a distinct character - it's not necessarily the fattiest cut that's the most coveted. Our platter took us from the inside skirt and chuck tender to the half short ribs, brisket and flank, from sultry red to perfectly pink with marbled streaks.

Cook each slice, one at a time, to your favourite doneness. 

Fattier cuts might be excellent at medium to medium well, while redder parts are creamiest at rare to medium rare, but each tastes terrific even when cooked longer, with more char and chew. The restaurant even recommends grilling some cuts to medium-well and more, for the fat to be melted out to cook the beef, bringing out its flavour and making it super-juicy.

We start with the leaner inside skirt and chuck tender, offering a muscular, bold-red chew without being stringy or sinewy. This is meat for the most carnivorous, robust but clean-tasting.

Then come the half short ribs and brisket. The short ribs prove succulent and potently fatty, while the brisket is the punchiest in beefy taste, with fat playing a supporting role to the top-notch meat.

The flank is a prime part, a favourite for many who sample it, promising a hearty balance of meat and fat, with a prominent beefiness that shines at the end.

With wagyu of this calibre, the marinades are kept simple and straightforward, with some featuring a mellow miso. Try each cut on its own first, then dip it in the soy-based tare sauce or a salt-and-pepper mix.

The Wagyu Restaurant can offer experimental platters for beef-curious adventurous. You can request selections that showcase, say, different yakiniku cuts, from fatty to medium-fatty to red meat, or similar parts with different marinades.

Wagyu sushi is also available, for a playful pleasure.

Have the beef raw or grill it slightly for 15 seconds or so, layering it over the sushi rice with hints of ginger, wasabi and vinegar. The rice is soft, a harmonious match for the sweet-savoury, shoyu-laced beef. Try two slices - the raw beef has a more pronounced meaty flavour, while grilling it results in a gorgeous cross between yakiniku and sushi.

The Wagyu Restaurant also has the most satisfying hamburg we've experienced in KL - 

The Wagyu Hamburg Steak is sheer wagyu juiciness, all killer and scarcely any filler (RM35 for 130 grams on the a la carte menu, or in a reasonable lunch set at RM40 for 130gm, or RM50 for 180gm).

It's a popular pick for patrons purchasing from the restaurant's retail section; simply cook it over low heat at home and enjoy the most brilliant beef patty possible.

Garlic fried rice, decadently bovine, cooked with oil from natural wagyu fat, is a must-have here, complete with beef tendons, scallions, egg and Japanese leek, an elevated rendition of traditional garlic fried rice. 

Assorted kimchi (RM22), fermented in-house for a lively tang, rounds out a balanced meal. 

There's more to order beyond yakiniku for future visits, including katsu cutlets layered with thinly sliced wagyu mille-feuille (on the lunch menu) and shabu-shabu cuts of sirloin or rib loins paired with a rich, raw egg dip.

The Wagyu Restaurant is founded by the same team behind The 19th Suzuki Hanten, a unique modern Sichuan restaurant led by Japanese chef Shotaro Takemura. Customers can order from the kitchen downstairs, with many intriguing dishes that feature less stinging but still resonant Sichuanese flavours.

Keep the beef theme going with the Grilled Beef with Spicy Garlic (RM45). Take the tender slices of beef and couple them with the thinly sliced cucumber and leeks for a fresh, vibrantly springy crunchiness, jazzed up with a sweetish Sichuan peppercorn sauce with a pleasantly lingering spiciness.

Make it a surf-and-turf meal with the stir-fried prawns, plump crustaceans slicked  up with a chilli-tomato sauce that's laced with scallions and Japanese leeks (RM36) - beware, this recipe could be addictive!

Two Sichuanese staples are reinvented at The 19th Suzuki Hanten in contemporary style - the Dan Dan Noodles are strikingly crowned with shredded chicken, egg and leeks, for a bountiful bowl of noodles that tastes as wonderful as it looks (RM28), while the Mapo Tofu is made extra-nuanced with a fermented bean sauce that boasts no fewer than 13 ingredients, including house-made chilli oil, worthy of being a signature dish that nearly every table orders (RM31).

Many thanks to The Wagyu Restaurant for having us back.

The Wagyu Restaurant
20, Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, Kampung Baru, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Tel: 03-2161-6699

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