You’ll all have heard about Wagyu beef and somewhere in the back of your mind you’ll remember its association with Japan and think that it’s rare and therefore expensive; both true and false! Did you know we have Scottish Highland Wagyu which is accessible and affordable?
Wagyu is the name of Japanese Beef (Wa meaning Janapese and Gyu meaning beef) and it’s known for it’s intense fat marbling. Wagyu cattle are usually raised in luxury surroundings, fed only the best and have been known to have daily massages and played music.
In 2011, husband and wife team, Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman fell in love with a coo called Schmidt (pictured above) and decided to give rearing Japanese Wagyu cattle a go. 7 years later, they have over 2000 heads of cattle consisting of pure blood Wagyu, Aberdeen Angus, Shorthorn, Dexters and cross-breeds called the Wangus (Wagyu cross Aberdeen Angus) on their farm in Burnside of Balhadie.
But what do you do with supreme cuts of quality beef besides supply them to Michelin Star restaurants? Well you open your own restaurant of course which allows you to showcase the entire great beast from nose to tail and provide the everyday person the opportunity to eat some of the best beef in the world!
Mohsin and Martine opened The Grill HW earlier this year and I went along to sample their amazing menu.
The Grill has something for everyone from the Wagyu Springrolls (£7.50) to the Wagyu Roast Beef Taco (£10) to Wagyu mac n cheese (£12) to the steaks themselves that start at £30 for a skirt steak up to £65 for a prime cut at 300g. (most restaurant’s will serve you 180g-225g steaks).
We started off with some light bite canapes, the nduju croquette and caviar potato. Equally delicious and devoured in seconds.
Up next was a platter of the Wagyu Spring Roll, the Lobster Taco, Highland Wagyu Wrap and Foie Gras & Halva; all of which you will find on either their lunchtime or evening menu.
The Spring Roll is light and crispy stuffed full with shredded wagyu beef. It’s rich and meaty and the filling is soft against the crunch of the outer roll.
The Lobster Taco is good but I would have it with a little less mayo sauce – the lobster flavour got lost in the sauce. Lovely taco though, all baked on the site fresh everyday.
The Highland Wrap is like no steak sandwich/wrap you have ever tasted. You’ll lick your lips after every bite and wish it was a never ending!
The foie gras I didn’t eat, I just don’t like it. Their foie gras is not force fed! Shew! From around the table there was many sounds of delight and mine did disappear from my plate as a fork made it’s way from the other side of the table to scoop mine up.
Then came the start of the really good stuff! This was the twice cooked cheek and oxtail on the bone. Oh my! As soon as you put your fork anywhere near the slice of cheek, it just fell apart. It was unctuous, deep in full beef flavour and very intense.
The oxtail fell off the bone. I loved the wonderful gelatinous layer between the succulent meat and the bone. It’s absolutely ‘sook’ worthy!
We then caught a waft of BBQ sizzle and char from the kitchen and knew that next up was what we came for…. the steaks!
We were presented with two fairly thick slices of sirloin beef. One end of the plate was the Wangus, the cross breed beef and the other Full Blood Wagyu.
As you can see from the photo above, this is the cross breed. It has more fat running through it and a slightly courser texture (and I mean slightly). It has slightly more bite to it than the full blood but oh my it’s AMAZING.
I do apologise for my continued use of exclamation marks and the use of ‘oh my’ but by the end of the meal you just want to scream out Hallelujah! – it’s so good!
Here is the full blood Wagyu beef steak. The only way I can describe this is as if you were eating butter and how it melts from the outside in; how it slowly disappears on your tongue except this leaves the richest most intense meaty taste you’ll ever encounter. This genuinely is meat heaven on a plate.
Next we had three more amazing cuts of beef to taste. From the front we have the Bavette, middle is Denver and at the back the fillet.
The Bavette is slightly marbled with fat and quite a loose texture. You can stretch this piece of steak out. The Denver has a strong mineral taste and the fillet was slightly smokey.
Again, blown away at the tenderness of these steaks and the very distinctive tastes.
We sampled four wines with dinner.
- Larmandier – Bernier ‘longitude’ Blanc de Blanc Champagne. 100% Chardonnay and a green gold in colour. You’ll pick up tastes of minerals, chalk and a hint of spice. Very moreish.
- Clos Siant-Pierre – Macon Charnay, 2015. You’ll pick up an aroma of peaches and cream, creamy but balanced.
- Hospices de Beaune Volnay 1er Cru – Civee Blondeau, 2010. The Hospices de Beaune is a former charitable almshouse in Beaune, France. It was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Burgundy, as a hospital for the poor. An annual charity wine auction has been taking place since 1851, where barrels of wine may be bought by both professional and private buyers. Highland Wagyu bought several barrels and now serve it here. The wine is fresh with crisp red fruits on the nose, and a rich and round palate with fine-grained tannins and balanced acidity.
- Weisse and Krohn Colheita Port, 2004. This is gorgeous. You’ll pick up nutty aromas as well as toffee and apple. Very smooth and you might also pick up figs and raisins.
And just to make sure that you retain a healthy diet after consuming a hefty amount of protein, The Grill by HW serve thick cut chips, tomato salad and lettuce with blue cheese (that’s 3 of your 5 a day right?!?!)
But then that all goes out the window with the arrival of the cheese platter and truffle toasties. The cheese is Strathearn and Barwheys cheeses served with apples and their own honey from Plan Bee beehives now located on their farm. The truffle toasties were moreish and worked with a wee piece of everything on the plate. Dipped in honey – delicious. Eaten with some cheese – delicious. Eaten with some apple – delicious. Eaten on their own – delicious.
It wasn’t finished yet. We finally ended the meal with gorgeous juicy plump Perthshire Strawberries and fresh cream. Simple. Beautiful.
I want to throw every word I can think of at this review – soft, succulent, rich, lush, luscious, delicious, divine, sublime, tasty, outstanding, tremendous, immense, remarkable, delectable, heavenly…. the list could go on.
The staff are wonderful and welcoming, the wine fantastic and the food….. see above.
Please put The Grill by HW on your lunch or dinner list. I promise you it’s worth the hour trip up to Bridge of Allan to embrace your inner carnivore.
The Grill by HW, 2 Inverallan Road, Bridge of Allan, Stirling, FK9 4JA. Tel : 01786 831 188 www.hwgrill.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Tartan Spoon 10/10