It’s the world’s most expensive beef and is served up by Michelin-starred chefs and top restaurants around the globe.
Now, a new grill house near Stirling is set to offer Scots the chance to enjoy Wagyu produced here in Scotland.
Opened earlier this year, The Grill by HW in Bridge of Allan is the latest offering by husband and wife team, Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman, who began breeding premium Japanese Wagyu alongside other breeds in 2011.
Inspired by a trip to Australia and a meal enjoyed there, and stories of the Japanese breed, the pair set about purchasing a herd of around 300 Wagyu from a farmer in Scotland, with a view to creating a beef that “would knock people out with its flavour”.
Now Mohsin and Martine have close to 2,000 head of cattle and their beef has been exported to 27 countries around the world.
Mohsin said: “We’ve tried to do something a little different here. We weren’t farmers originally, we started out as consumers and we’ve put together the Grill to showcase our beef. We want to not only tell the story of the meat but also the community around it.
“I believe that Wagyu is the best beef in the world and the future of the beef industry in this country."
Highland Wagyu already has some notable fans, with Edinburgh’s own chefs Fred Berkmiller and Tom Kitchin serving cuts of Wagyu in their restaurants for several years now and Tom Kerridge reportedly stating that it’s his favourite restaurant north of the border after he and Fred Sirieix visited recently for a spot of filming.
Even Japanese breeders, who visited the farm, which lies just outside Dunblane, to try the steaks (British beef is still banned in Japan) conceded defeat when faced with the Highland version declaring, according to Mohsin, “today you beat us”.
Prized for its finely marbled meat, the Scottish producers point out that Wagyu breeds produced in different countries each have their own unique flavour with the cuts produced here being more beefy and flavoursome than elsewhere.
Housed in the former Old Bridge Inn premises in the town, the new restaurant is spacious and comes complete with specialist gas grills, which are specifically designed to handle cuts of meat from this very special breed.
Mohsin is also happy to point out the startling picture of a bull that covers one of the walls, declaring it to be Schmidt, the original bull used to help create the herd. The Grill serves locally bred, speciality Wagyu beef and Wagyu crossed with indigenous breeds such as the Wangus (Aberdeen Angus) and Waghorn (Shorthorn).
Though it’s Wangu most people will be trying when they come to the Grill, Mohsin said that those looking for the full experience of the pure bred Wagyu will be able to try this special steak if they order in advance.
Prices reflect the long and careful process to rear the animal, with Mohsin and Martine confirming that they only serve cuts from animals that have been taken care of properly, and that includes music being played to soothe the beasts.
Mohsin said: “We believe the cow must be happy for it to produce meat that’s right for our customers to taste.”
Not entirely unreasonable given the impressive quality of the meat, a 300g prime cut costs £60 and 300g of skirt steak comes in at around £35, all served with chips cooked in Wagyu oil. The pure bred experience will set you back a little bit more. Those looking for a more casual dining experience can enjoy a Wagyu burger and chips on the lunch menu for just £12.50.
Those who want to take the experience home can also buy steak and cuts of meat from Wagyu House or online at www.wagyuhouse.co.uk