Takumi (means connoisseur) is a Japanese restaurant like no other. Their specialty is in wagyu (literally translated as ‘japanese cow’, famous for its quality and intense marbling) and claims to be Melbourne’s only wagyu beef specialist. Having obtained the stamp of approval from Matt Preston, this place is definitely worth a try if you’re craving for wagyu.
Takumi’s method of appreciating wagyu is through cook-it-yourself smokeless sumibi yakiniku which means smokeless grille and wagyu. To put it simply – that’s table top cooking over charcoal that will not leave you smelling like smoke or cooked food :) As a wagyu beef specialist, Takumi uses Blackmore wagyu which is one of the highest grade Australian wagyu.
The menu that we’re having today is Japanese Smokeless Grille Degustation menu ($166 for two). Upon arrival, we were served with a bottle of New Zealand Angel Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and warm boiled edamame to warm our stomach before the ‘real thing’ comes :)
We continued our meal with a few small starters which was absolutely captivating in flavours and helps to open our buds. Takumi’s Special has four precious slices of rare wagyu eye fillet, topped with onion and citrus dressing. That was a heavenly moment for me. Then followed by thick slices of Salmon Carpaccio which was a delightful dish. But not so for the Beef Skewers which we felt was sadly overcooked and overpowered by the sweet teriyaki sauce.
The moment that we have been waiting for … *applause*curtains rise* when our flat table top was transformed into charcoal grille. The waitress brought out two plates of thinly sliced raw wagyu (200g each plate) and a plate of squid. It doesn’t look a lot but that beef certainly goes down a long long way.
The best way to enjoy its texture and flavour is not to overcook it. So two to three quick sizzles will do. Start by taking a block of beef fat and coat the cooking surface, then place the meat on top – Voila! It’s cooking.
When grilled, it gives a beautifully crisp edge, tender and juicy in the middle, with buttery flavour that is intensely sweet and delicate. Plump up with the any of the three sauces (sesame oil/salt, barbecue sauce or soy sauce) to give it a bit of umami hit. My little one was having so much fun with ‘cooking’ proving to us that “anyone can cook” :)
Verdict : With all honesty, I thought cooking wagyu on grille may not be the best way. After my first visit to Takumi seven months ago, I had to say that my perception has been corrected. Since then I have been back five times and it didn’t leave me disappointed. The service was very friendly, food was plated nicely and that wagyu was unforgettably a melting moment.
To die for : Takumi’s Special and Wagyu on grille
Price : $$$$
Yummy Factor : +4
Noise Level : Low
Tip : Wagyu is best enjoyed as rare or med rare. Two to three quick sizzles will do.