Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries exercises strict controls over licensing which restaurants are allowed to serve Kobe beef. The flavoursome, melt-in-the-mouth, exactingly produced meat comes from Tajima steers in Japan’s Hyōgo prefecture, and London’s Sushisamba has pulled off something of a coup by being sanctioned to stage a special Kobe Week on April 10-16.
Standout plates on the menu of 12 dishes include Kobe tartare with almond, wasabi and ponzu (£39); robata-grilled Kobe ribeye with kabocha, kuromitsu and mustard cress (£144); and, in a nod to Sushisamba’s location in the heart of the Square Mile, a Kobe English Breakfast (£23) of Kobe sausage and bacon, asparagus and mustard (don’t be fooled by the name, though, this is served at lunch and dinner only).
The most indulgent offering will be the Kobe Ishiyaki (£1,000, 48 hours’ notice required for ordering) – a whole kilogram of premium beef that will serve up to six, and is cooked by diners themselves on hot stones under the supervision of Sushisamba’s specially trained waiters. “Kobe Ishiyaki is a traditional Japanese dish that literally means ‘hot stones’,” says executive chef Cláudio Cardoso, who devised the menu. “The meat, which usually has a substantial amount of fat, is placed on the stones and served with very little in the way of garnishings – maybe some salt or a sauce.”
The Kobe theme even stretches as far as the drinks menu, with the Kobe Cocktail (£28) offering a twist on the Old Fashioned by washing Yamazaki Japanese whisky in the highest grade Kobe fat, then stirring in maple and salted caramel.
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