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These Australian Wagyu are fed Cadbury chocolates and gummy bears

The Beast: At Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, executive chef Michael Luedtke prepares a 100-lb. tender Mayura Wagyu beef leg for 96 hours. Photo courtesy of Hyatt City of Dreams Manila  

In my family, whenever my Dad would announce that he had Kobe beef fresh from Japan, my brothers would always rejoice. They knew that, apart from their share, they would be having mine as well. It’s not that I dislike the incredibly tender, well-marbled beef from the Tajima-gyu breed of cattle found in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture, but I am sensitive to certain things and can only have one very tiny sliver without feeling both queasy and dizzy. (Yep, that’s a public announcement to anyone having Japanese beef with me, that after a tiny slice, washed down with a cup of warm water with a slice of lemon, it’s all yours.)

Enter Mayura Station, a national award-winning boutique beef producer from the Limestone Coast of South Australia (in between Adelaide and Melbourne). Established in 1845, they first imported first full-blooded Wagyu cattle from Japan in 1998. All their cattle are bred, raised and grain-fed on their property, ensuring full traceability. Adelaide Now published, “Producing the truffles and caviar of the beef world, Mayura station from Millicent in the South-East, has steaks on the menu for up to (AUS) $400 each at some of Asia’s finest restaurants.”

Wagyu dad and Wagyu mom 

That’s equivalent to a little over P13,000++, but that’s because good quality never comes cheap. Owner Scott de Bruin credits their tender, juicy beef known for its unique flavor profile and abundant marbling as the result of a combination of “having the best cattle and coming up with the best systems of producing the beef.”

“We have 6,000 herd of cattle — we also import male genetics,” he shares. “Mayura only does full-blood Wagyus because that means it’s from a Wagyu mom and a Wagyu dad. Most others from Australia are from a Wagyu dad and something else. The quality of our beef is so much better and genetics has a propensity to marble more.”

He also highlights the importance of their environment. “We have consistent rainfall and a temperate climate with four seasons. We have good soil and limestone that runs throughout the whole area.”

Australian Wagyu vs. Japanese Wagyu

So what makes them different from Japanese Wagyu? “The main thing about Australian Wagyu is that you can still have a steak,” says De Bruin. “Normally with Japanese Wagyu, you have to cut it really thin or serve as shabu-shabu because it’s quite oily so you only want to have a little bit. The texture is amazing; it’s really soft and it melts, but what we want to be able to do is that you can still have a steak (120g to 250g), and if you can get a really good one, it blows people away.”

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The interesting tidbit I found out was that the Mayura Wagyu cattle are fed Cadbury chocolates, gummy bears, and Mars bars four months before they are slaughtered. This is why the beef has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor profile.

From steak tartare to tomahawk to the beast 

In the Philippines, Mayura Wagyu is served at various upscale restaurants. At Antonio’s in Tagaytay, chef Tony Boy Escalante serves it as a tomahawk steak, adding only cardamom and pickled garlic to it “because the meat is so good.”

At Vask, it’s a paper-thin Wagyu Carpaccio topped with parmesan ice cream, crunchy pine nuts, parmesan chips, and drizzled with lemon juice and rock salt. “Since it’s nice and fatty, we keep it raw so you can taste it in its full form,” chef J. Luis “Chele” Gonzalez shares. “We respect the beef.”

At Bistro du Vin, chef de cuisine Joanne Javier uses a Mayura Hanging Tender, which they rub with berbere spices, mix with cornichons, shallots, capers, mustard and “a little secret something” before topping with a quail egg yolk, and served with piperade, sauce verte, and a salad as a blackboard special, Mayura Wagyu Steak Tartare with Quail Egg.

At Prime 101, chef Marco Legasto uses Mayura’s top-end signature series. “I marinate the rib eye with Mayura Station Wagyu bone marrow and our own marinade cooked on a woodchip griller,” he shares.

At Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, executive chef Michael Luedtke prepares “The Beast,” a 100-lb. tender Mayura Wagyu beef leg, for 96 hours. On day one, the beef leg is cured; on day two, it is soaked in brine or salted water to tenderize it, and on day three, it is marinated in yogurt. This is even before the 20 hours of slow roasting at a core temperature of 58 degrees. Not surprisingly, it is the main highlight of their Café’s Grill & Griddle station on Saturdays and Sundays.

Even Artisan Cellars and Fine Foods, Inc., the official distributor of Mayura in the country, has its own signature Mayura dish that can be ordered at their newly opened wine shop, Artisan Cellar Door at Pasong Tamo Extension. The woman behind the kitchen, Roxanne Lee, says she just pan-sears it, with a dash of salt and pepper.

Should you find yourself in South Australia, however, the place to visit is Mayura Station’s very own Tasting Room right at the heart of their farm. Awarded “Best Formal Steak Restaurant” at the Restaurant and Catering Awards 2014, it offers the ultimate “paddock-to-plate” experience in the Limestone Coast for up to 40 people at a time. “We have a long bar, and as you walk in, the kitchen is set up so the chef is cooking in front of you,” shares De Bruin. “We serve three or four courses — all steak — from raw to roasted to cooked steak — and one dessert.”

At AUS $120/ head, it’s a pretty good deal for a true-blue farm-to-table dining experience. Sorry, guys, I’m probably not going to share this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For more information on Mayura Station, visit mayurastation.com. For inquiries and orders in the Philippines, call Artisan Cellar Door at 880-0618, (0929) 325-3430, email artisancellardoor@gmail.com or visit their shop at G/F Narra Building, 2276 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati.

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You can reach me at inbetweendeadlines@gmail.com, on my blog www.cheryltiu.com, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cheryltiu or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/chertiu.

 

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