For those obsessed with the top beef in the world, Wagyumafia is at the pinnacle. Wagyumafia started out as a private supper club in Tokyo. Beef exporters Hisato Hamada and entrepreneur Takafumi Horie held private wagyu-themed pop-up dinners in Tokyo showcasing top cuts of beef from the best producers in Japan.
Wagyumafia's claim to fame is the humble beef katsu-"sando" (sandwich). Wagyumafia's version uses the chateaubriand - one of the most highly prizes portions of a cow - and Ozaki beef, from Miyazaki, Japan. Farmer Ozaki feeds his cows mineral water, organic ryegrass, and a 12-ingredient grains mixture that includes barley and corn. He only raises 60 cows a year, 30 for Japan, 30 for the international market.
A full sandwich using this prized beef in Tokyo costs JPY200,000, or close to $200 USD. At Wagyumafia Hong Kong, adding a tasting portion of this wagyu sando (as an optional supplemental to the basic tasting menu) will set you back HKD$1000 (USD$127).
The first WAGYUMAFIA restaurant opened in Tokyo in 2016. This was a members only restaurant, and within a few years, it was virtually impossible to get membership at this exclusive restaurant in Tokyo. In 2018, Wagyumafia opened its first international location in Hong Kong.
As luck would have it, this new Wagyumafia was located just a 5-minute walk from our apartment. We had been curious about Wagyumafia for years (ever since it was open in Tokyo), but never had the opportunity to try it in Tokyo. Now, FINALLY, it was virtually in our backyard.
Bryan signed up as a member and we booked our first Members Only Omakase dinner.
Wagyumafia Members Only Experience Omakase
As soon as we entered the restaurant we were brought to a door that looked like a huge walk-in freezer. Upon entering this tiny chamber, they presented us with a starting bite of sake and cured wagyu. What a lovely way to start the evening.
Soon as settling in, they showed us our steak. They had covered it with super coarse salt to absorb fat and take away moisture. Soon after, they showed us our steak that we would be eating later.
But First, Salad?
We began with our "salad" of fresh, crisp Japanese green peppers tossed in a kombu dressing. It was light and refreshing.
And the Decadence Begins with the Starters
And then, the decadent meal began. Our first course allowed us to experience the meat in its absolutely raw form: as tartare wrapped up in a handroll with sushi rice, freshly ground wasabi, and a load of Kristal caviar.
The bite was delicious, decadent, and exploding with flavors, as you can imagine. It's hard not to like a bite with all those fancy ingredients, though I wasn't sure that I could really appreciate the quality of the beef as much since it was mixed with so many delicious elements. Nevertheless, it was fantastic.
If you haven't noticed by now, all the staff at Wagyumafia have adopted founder Hisato Hamada's signature presentation style, where they shout the name of the item at the top of their lungs and dramatically pose it to you. It's quite entertaining, though a bit over the top at times. We had a good laugh, and you hear those shouts bouncing around the dining room the whole night.
Wagyu gyoza was next, two perfectly formed potstickers that were pan-fried just the right amount. The beef inside was juicy, rich, and flavorful.
Wagyumafia Small Bites
Wagyumafia's beef has a lower melting point than normal beef (melts in your mouth!) so it feels less greasy. This next tasting of different cuts of wagyu sashimi was quite interesting and educational.
The chef recommended that we eat the first three bites with soy sauce and wasabi, and enjoy the last two bites by themselves since they were already seasoned.
Counterclockwise from the piece located at three o'clock in the photo: rump, tenderloin, rib cap "dukkeh" (a style of curing made with rump meat and topped with shiso flowers), and rib cap with lime and sea salt. On the side they provided a small plate of a special 3-years aged katsuobushi aged soy sauce.
A single skewer of grilled wagyu.
This next course was steamed slices of wagyu, a daikon soy dipping sauce, and heaps of gold, just for extravagance (since gold is inert and has no flavor).
World Famous Chateaubriand Sando
Silly us . . . we didn't know that the Experience Omakase comes with its own sample sized katsu sando. So we had ordered an extra sandwich (supplement HKD1000) thinking that we had to try this signature dish.
They ended up giving us slightly different versions: a black truffle version (above), and a classic version, but topped with gold (below).
I will say that the sandwich is phenomenal and probably was my favorite part of the whole tasting. Honestly, I didn't think it needed black truffles, and certainly not gold. I would prefer just to eat a simple one, which I think is just as good.
But wow. It is the best beef sandwich I've ever had.
A Brief Vegetable Break
To balance out our meat-focused meal, our next course was a white asparagus from France topped with wagyu fat powder.
Wagyumafia Main Course: Steak + Uni
And then it was time for the main course . . .
The decadence does not stop. We shared a plate of a gorgeous wagyu together with a load of uni from Japan.
There were endless ways to combine the two together with the seasonings on the side (wasabi, cracked peppercorn, salt).
Wagyumafia Tsukemen - Fantastic
I also loved our final savory source, al dente "QQ" udon noodles dipped in a gorgeously fragrant wagyu bone broth. It was simple amazing. I wondered whether this was like the ramen that they serve at Mashi no Mashi, which is located adjacent to Wagyumafia.
Wagyumafia Dessert - Wagyu Fat Ice Cream!
I couldn't believe it, but even the dessert was a wagyu fat ice cream sandwich. The sandwich was delicious, though to be perfectly honest, I couldn't really taste the wagyu fat that strongly.
Irasshai . . .いらっしゃい - General Thoughts on Wagyumafia Hong Kong
Dining at Wagyumafia is sensory overload. There's loud rock music, wagyu beef mafia "ninjas" shouting "irrasshai!" over and over again througbout the night. There's over-the-top ingredients, like copious dollops of caviar, luxuriously perfect beef, mounds of truffles, sheets of gold, and truly excellent food.
It's an experience that's unique, fun, and crazy. It's certainly not an everyday or even once every few weeks type meal. I will say that the food is top notch, and definitely worth it. Personally, I could do without the gold, truffles, and even the uni, to be perfectly honest. I'm a purist, and I'd be just as happy (maybe even happier), if they simplified things a bit.
Nevertheless, it's hard to find better steak than this. I absolutely swooned over the sandwich and I'm totally planning on getting that again.
Delivery, Membership, and Other Details
Wagyumafia Butcher's Service menu offers various delivery options, such as steak , sukiyaki kits, wagyu beef jerky, and the oh-so-famous katsusando (HKD1000 per set). It's based on availability and must be pre-ordered in advance. It's a great option during times when dining out is severely restricted.
Membership fee in Hong Kong is a one-time HKD$2000 and also includes membership in Tokyo. Membership allows you to enjoy the higher-end "members only" omakase menu, as well as access to priority booking and other benefits.
According to the website, Wagyumafia Hong Kong is currently opening up membership to 100 more people, with priority given to friends/family of current members. You can email [email protected] for more info.
This is one of many posts that are part of the Eating in Hong Kong During Covid Times challenge of writing 50 posts in 50 days, mostly about Hong Kong. Head over to that link to see a list of all posts in this series.