If I had to be reborn as an animal for food, I’d definitely choose to be a Wagyu cow. A morbid thought? Maybe. But these cows have got it gooood.
This is would be a life where being fat is a good thing, and you spend your living days eating, drinking booze and getting massaged! What’s not to love about that?
Well, there’s that bit about being eaten. But wagyu beef gets treated with such reverence that I’m sure it’ll make it worthwhile.
So it makes sense that Japanese yakiniku – aka Japanese barbecue – features little to no marinade or seasoning, to showcase the raw flavour of the beef. And at Gyuzou in Sydney, the cow is built right into the name, so I was over the moo-n to be invited to sample their menu!
It seemed to make sense to start with the Wagyu Platter, $25.50. You get a variety of cuts, including my favourite part of the beef, the short rib. Yes yes you get more fat in the prime cuts of meat, but really, the short rib is where you can taste all the amazing beefy flavour, and with just a bit more cooking, a deliciously firm but tender texture.
And I ordered the Large Intestine, $6.50, because I’m Asian. And also because you can really tell how a restaurant treats their meat in their treatment of their offal. Offal needs NEEDS to be fresh, and cleaned properly or it will smell to high heaven the moment it hits the heat.
This, thankfully, was one delicious plate. Lightly fatty – so decadent! – and with just the the tiniest amount of bite, these pieces didn’t even need to be marinated, in my opinion.
Pro tip: Cook it low and slow on the edges of the barbecue, and give it time to render out some of the fat, causing the all-important flare ups that will give you that classic barbecue smoky flavour.
Of course, you can’t do Japanese food without the other thing that stinks to high heaven if it isn’t fresh – sashimi! At Gyuzou, it definitely is, though I question the decision to serve it over ice. On one hand, it keeps the fish cold because it can get pretty warm while that barbecue is sizzling, but on the other hand, things get a bit watery as the ice melts. And well, you get the wet fish reference right?
Okonomiyaki, $5.50, is basically a Japanese cabbage and beef/seafood pancake covered in mayo (that magically delicious word again!) and a brown Japanese barbecue sauce. Personally I like okonomiyaki a little firmer, but it was still the flavours you’d expect, so it was okay.
So back to the beef we go. The Wagyu Tataki, $8.90, very simply features thin slices of seared rare beef laid over thin slices of red onion, with a light soy based sauce on the side. Good, but not great, especially next to the stellar barbecue.
And just to round things out on a sweet note, the Green Tea Parfait, $7.90. It may look simple, but it’s got a circus of sponge cake, green tea jelly, whipped cream, matcha ice cream, and chocolate wafer cigars. A good way to finish, though part of me wonders if I should have ordered more beef and intestine.
It was a very pretty setting, and a great experience for date nights. If you are a bit worried about the lack of marinade, let me assure you that the trio of sauces more than make up for it. The yakiniku, shiotare, and tabera rayu, provided enough salt, tang, and umami flavours to change it up with every bite. I particularly enjoyed the tabera rayu, which was like a chilli and garlic mixture that just brought out the Singaporean in me.
Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Gyuzou Japanese BBQ.