REVIEW: ME@OUE’s New Menu Brings the Rare Kumamoto Beef to Singapore

The Japanese, French and Chinese restaurant will be Singapore’s only one serving the impeccable Kumamoto beef in various, fascinating ways

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A stunningly marbled A4 Kumamoto beef

The caviar of beef is arguably the mythical Wagyu beef. Desired for its curiously marbled flesh, Wagyu’s most prominent characteristic is how fat evenly distributes throughout the meat, resulting in a succulent, tender, melt-in-your-mouth slab of premium beef. To achieve this grade of beef is a slow, arduous process, where cows are bred for at least two and a half years.

For the ‘finest’ variety of Wagyu, most people are familiar with the Kobe, Matsusaka, and Ohmi varieties, but that’s not all to Wagyu. The Kumamoto beef makes for an equally stunning plate. Given that the Kumamoto Wagyu is Japan’s only free-grazing cattle, its meat is slightly leaner than its more popular sister varieties, balancing out the intensely buttery taste of say, Matsusaka, which can prove a little too rich for some.

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Executive Chef Sam Chin

For Executive Chef Sam Chin, the “stunning meat” is “simply incomparable”. The 33-year old Penang native, who now helms ME@OUE and oversees all three stations (the open-concept kitchen serves up Japanese, French and Chinese cuisine), flew the whole Kumamoto cow from the picturesque island of Kyushu. The highly prized beef is now exclusively available at the restaurant, subject to the executive chef's flair.

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“I have the luxury and privilege of using the most wonderful cuts,” Chef Chin explains. “I literally go into the kitchen each day, pick up my knife, take a slice off, and decide what to do with it.”

Indeed, Chef Chin demonstrates a sort of virtuosity in the kitchen, experimenting with different cuts of the Kumamoto Wagyu, unleashing an endless well of ideas which he expresses on unexpected dishes. His energy in the kitchen is as palpable from his dishes as one might sense from his demeanor.

From fascinating tenderloin sushi to Hand-Cut Raw Kumamoto Wagyu Tartare from the neck, each plate bursts with the delight and vigour of its chef, unravelling through its quality, density and flavour. Of the menu’s highlights, don’t miss out on the following:

HAND-CUT RAW KUMAMOTO WAGYU TARTARE

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Soft and sweet, the luscious cuts of raw Kumamoto Wagyu impresses as it is – in its authentic form – with a Kochujang dressing adding a delightful fission to the mix. Find a subtle injection of fresh Nashi Pear, which allows for a Spring-like buzz of sweet-yet-floral, whilst micro greens surround like a fresh garden. A silky egg yolk tantalizes with rich bursts of flavour, whilst potato crisps add an unexpected edge.

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KUNG PAO KUMAMOTO WAGYU

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A crowd pleaser rendered with the recipe of two Michelin star Chef Kentaro and a must-try – find Szechuan dried chilli, bell peppers and cashew nuts with Japanese Kumamoto Wagyu in tender cubes. The A4 steak is best enjoyed in its authentic flavour, so Chef Sam lets you pick either the tenderloin, striploin or the rib-eye, with an option of being prepared in either Japanese or French style. To pick the Japanese style is to have the meat grilled over charcoal, bringing a stunning smokiness that complements a tangy yet spicy Yuzukosho paste and Himalayan pink salt. For the French way, indulge in a lightly pan-seared meat with Pommery mustard and a sweet shallot puree.

DUO PREPARATION OF GRADE A4 KUMAMOTO WAGYU

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Kumamoto Beef

The first service brings charcoal grilled striploin with a side of pumpkin purée, mashed marble potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Get a 150g Half Cut (S$88) or a 300g full cut S$178. The second service offers an interesting Nigiri Sushi and Uni and a Yakiniku, Shio Kombu, Tamanigi and Ponzu. Served with Miso Soup. Each dish is accompanied by an excellent selection of wines to round the palate, from the smooth and balanced Peccavi, Chardonnay, Margaret River Australia 2011 to the rich and fruity Valentin Zusslin, Bollenberg, Pinot Noir, Alsace France 2013.

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Botan Ebi Tartare from Chef’s Tasting Menu

Indulging in these plates may bring an outrageously authentic experience, but for those who favour the experiments of variety, go for the Chef’s Tasting Menu. For S$98, ME@OUE's four-course meal is rendered in a truly experimental culinary journey, accompanied by gorgeous wines and a sweeping vista of Marina Bay.

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