Reena Patel Tastes The Prime Authentic Japanese Beef Menu at Engawa, one of London’s most authentic and traditional Japanese restaurants
Set within the beautiful boutique hub behind London’s Piccadilly called Ham Yard Village, Mr Husband and I stepped into the small but perfectly formed upscale Japanese dining room to taste the Engawa experience.
Beef buffs wishing to dine lighter and ditch their standard steak night will be in for a real treat with the eight-course menu on offer here. Rich with prime cuts of the special breed of Kobe beef served in multiple ways, the courses also include more familiar seafood-based dishes such as sushi and sashimi.
When it comes to Kobe, only three thousand cattle annually make the cut for Kobe beef classification, with as few as thirty leaving Japan for export. Engawa is proud to be one of just a handful of restaurants to offer this key cut. Renowned for its superior flavour, tenderness and well-marbled texture, Engawa is also the only restaurant to import the entire Kobe cow and as such, can offer a wide range of cuts including sirloin, rump, fillet, rib-eye and more.
Mr Husband and I began with warm soul-soothing and soupy-soft appetisers of finely chopped Kobe beef with a light broth-like dashi stock, grated yam and spring onions and slow cooked Kobe beef with a ponzu jelly, both served in beautiful coloured pottery pots and bowls. Our second appetisers swiftly arrived, of Dashimaki – finely chopped Engawa-style organic egg roll dressed with Kobe beef dashi and shaved truffle and Chawan-Mushi – steamed organic egg custard cooked with Kobe beef dashi stock, also garnished with shaved truffle.
Third course in, we moved on to fried tempura of asparagus and prawn, which were immediately devoured as soon as they met our mouths. To continue, we took a delightful pause to marvel at the exquisite presentation of the seven-piece sashimi box – a sumptuous and sophisticated spread spanning sea bass, squid and even sea urchin. We were recommended to try them in a particular order, which allowed for the delicate light flavours of the white fish to shine through before we moved on to stronger tastes.
For the next course, we tried two dishes of the Kobe ‘three ways’ of more slow-cooked beef and delicately dressed thinly sliced marble beef cuts with vegetables. By this point, we had finally earned our way to the heartiest (and Mr Husband’s favourite) course; seared slices of Kobe beef cooked to perfection on a sizzling hot stone and served with a tangy ponzu dip, served with crunchy vegetables.
To finish, as they do in Japan, a showcase of sushi was served on a high top tray, followed by fresh fruit and creamy cheesecake served with a side helping of green tea infused white chocolate fondue.
For fantastic beef, savoury Japanese flavours and stellar slices of sashimi and sushi, this is the place to try.
Five and three course menus along with lunch and bento boxes are also available.