If you haven’t heard of Hiyama Kuroge Wagyu beef, you’re probably not alone. However, while its reputation may not yet have reached Hong Kong’s shores, it is renowned in its homeland of Japan as being one of the finest sources of beef, with its marbled structure and melt-in-your-mouth flavours placing it firmly on the to-nosh list of any beef aficionado. The good news, though, is that this rare meat is finally available in the city, courtesy of the recently-opened Wagyu Vanne.
Located in Causeway Bay’s Tower 535, the swanky new cuisinary is wholly-dedicated to all things beef. The brainchild of famed Japanese celebrity chef Vanne Kuwahara, this intimate venue – whose interiors include a dedicated Hiyama Wagyu beef wall display – offers a uniquely Western interpretation of the traditional Japanese yakiniku experience.
On the occasion of our pre-opening visit to Wagyu Vanne, the tasting experience kicked off in fine style with the Fresh Chopped Tomato Salad, a refreshing palate cleanser that served as the perfect opening act for the dishes to follow. Next, we sampled two appetisers, the A5 Wagyu Toast and a piece of Wagyu Sushi with Sea Urchin, both pleasingly bite-sized and packed with umami accents.
Then came the first true yakiniku experience, a sampling of the Hiyama A5 Wagyu sirloin, grilled to perfection table-side by a dedicated yakiniku specialist. Smooth and succulent, the fabulously-textured morsel simply burst with flavour, leaving us yearning for more.
Scarcely had we blinked when the next dish – Wagyu Daily Special in “Shabu Shabu” Style with Truffle, arrived at the table. A delightfully interactive plate, the slice of beef was first swirled in a shabu shabu broth before being placed lovingly atop an egg yolk and topped generously with shavings of black truffle. It is then up to the diner to stir the mixture until a soft foam appears, before tucking into the deliciously creamy concoction.
Next up was one of Chef Vanne’s innovative East-meets-West creations – the Wagyu Pappardelle Bolognese. Here, the Wagyu beef was transformed into a true-to-grandma’s-original-recipe bolognese sause that paired wonderfuly with the al dente homemade pappardelle pasta.
To end this scrumptious meal, the Wagyu Vanne chef opted for subtlety over showiness with a Homemade Yuzu Sorbet. Served in a small glass – just the right portion, considering our already-tightened beltlines – the tartness of the yuzu sorbet acted as a delicious digestif to cleanse the strong flavours of the preceding beef dishes, and the perfect conclusion to a truly gastronomic meal.
Wagyu Vanne by Gosango. 1/F, Tower 535, No. 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay. (852) 2885 0533.