The Wagyu Restaurant, Lorong Yap Kwan Seng

October 6, 2019

Japanese beef in all its grilled glory: True to its name, The Wagyu Restaurant relies on meat of pure pedigree, serving cuts from whole cattle flown into KL from Tokushima Prefecture, hand-carved with care by chefs from Nagano and Hiroshima, offered at lower-than-typical prices for yakiniku meals. This is the city centre's new sanctum of smoky succulence, complete with the painstaking attention to quality for which Japanese restaurants are renowned.

The Wagyu Restaurant operates in a simple setting, casually outfitted for indoor barbecues. Step inside and browse the chiller stocked with halal cuts that can be purchased home for various preparation purposes, from yakiniku-suitable slices to slabs for steaks, sukiyaki or shabu-shabu.

Prices are potentially one-third lower compared to other retail venues in KL, since The Wagyu Restaurant's founders are wagyu wholesalers with their own trading company.

Scoring off the charts for primal pleasure, the wagyu beef plate is a carnivore's fantasy made flesh, showcasing a set of wagyu from the magnificently marbled A4 or A5 Grades (RM188; enough for three to four persons, available during dinnertime).

The platter's contents evolve based on what's best - ours comprised a spectacular premium cut of wagyu loin (achingly tender, alluringly sweet) and a 'regular' cut of wagyu short rib (yielding a firmer but still smoothly juicy chew, ideally paired with shoyu sauce), as well as beef tongue (its relative gaminess tempered gently with lemon or salt).

The Wagyu Restaurant is meticulous about not only the meat but its accompanying house-made marinades and sauces - the result is fresh, charcoal-cooked beef with clean, delicate flavours, with the authentic essence of impeccably bred wagyu shining through in each bite.

For less hearty eaters, The Wagyu Restaurant also offers comparatively modest platters that still satisfy bovine cravings. For a more flavoursome experience, sample the wagyu kalbi, short ribs seasoned with salted leeks, promising a savoury, subtly onion-like uplift to balance out the beef's richness (RM48).

While The Wagyu Restaurant is unmistakably Japanese, some elements might evoke Korean establishments, specifically vegetarian sides like the assorted namul (RM22; zenmai fiddleheads, bean sprouts, spinach, and radish with carrots), assorted kimchi (RM22; a fermented trio of Chinese cabbage, radish and cucumbers, less spicy than Korean kimchi) and a princely bowl of Korean-style salad (RM18). And though the shoyu sauce, lemon, or salt and pepper should suffice for condiments, you might also find gochujang red chilli paste on the table.

The yakiniku offerings are only for dinner, but customers can still get their beef fix for lunch, with sets like the sizzling wagyu hamburg (RM40 for a 130-gram patty, partnered with rice, salad and a soup). The hamburg is moist, nearly melting in the mouth, naturally a textural cut above mass-produced patties. It can be coupled with one of three sauces - demi-glace, Japanese radish, or ponzu - and washed down perhaps with Kirin Ichiban beer (RM28).

The Wagyu Restaurant occupies a first-floor room in the bungalow that houses The 19th Suzuki Hanten; both are spearheaded by the same Japanese show-runners.

Many thanks to The Wagyu Restaurant for having us here.

The Wagyu Restaurant

20, Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. First floor of The 19th Suzuki Hanten.

Open Tues-Thurs & Sunday, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm; Fri-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Closed Mondays. Tel: 03-2161-6699

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