Arguably the most legendary piece of meat in the world, Kobe beef epitomises quality.The original Kobe beef is cut from 100% Tajima cattle raised in the Japanese city of Kobe. The meat is famed for its special marbling, which makes the meat exceptionally tender and rich in flavour. But with the outstanding quality comes a heavy price tag. The meat is worth a few hundred pounds per kilo depending on the cut. The high price is the result of the special Tajima cattle and the unique breeding practices, which are shrouded in mystery. Rumour has it that the Tajima cattle get massages, drink Japanese brandy and listen to soothing music in the cowshed. In reality the great quality is the result of a fine combination of proper climate, special forage and good genes. No matter the truth the meat is a part of a special storytelling which many guests want to be a part of.
However, many restaurants import and sell cheaper alternatives from countries such as Australia. The price is lower and so is the quality, but the restaurants cannot be blamed; the road to the real deal is long and paved with rigid demands and strict control.
Not so at London’s Soho restaurant MASH. “We decided to put Kobe beef on the menu, because it is the most legendary piece of meat in the world, and because it is the acme of quality. If you want to be the leading steakhouse in the world, you must be capable of delivering the best meat. We are so proud to be the world’s leading buyer of Kobe meat. But being the biggest importer is not a goal per se. Quality matters, not quantity,” concludes Mikkel Glahn, Partner & Marketing Manager at MASH.
Today MASH imports more Kobe beef than any other restaurant in the world. MASH has seen an increasing demand of the Kobe beef from guests visiting its eight restaurants in London, Hamburg and Denmark. It imports all its Kobe beef from the Japanese vendor Wagyu Direct, owned by Master of Wagyu, Hisato Hamada, one of the biggest Kobe meat distributers in the world. Since 2014 the company has provided meat for restaurants on three different continents, with MASH as the biggest purchaser.