There is barbeque, and there is yakiniku. Not very much different in the strictest sense of the word. But barbeque is commonly associated with smoke and burnt meat. Over at Ito-Kacho Yakiniku Restaurant, your dining experience is going to different from what you commonly get, compared to your outdoor BBQs or Korean grill restaurants.
Very much different.
Ito-Kacho is the first outlet established out of Japan, located at Mandarin Gallery a few shops away from Ippudo. Mandarin Gallery is already known for its branded and posh shops from the likes of Montblanc, Emporio Armani, Marc Jacobs, D&G and Vertu.
The current customer base at Ito-Kacho seems to be a mix of Japanese, businessmen, and Indonesian tai tais. You get the drift.
You may wonder what’s the damage then? It is all really up to you.
Their premium cuts such as grade A4 Wagyu Beef is its main highlight and recommendation. If you want to go for quality, choose their beautifully marbled Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara Premium Short Rib ($50 for 80g, $69 for $120g), Wagyu Sasami Flank Steak ($50 for 80g, $69 for 120g) and Wagyu Kainomi Flap Meat ($22 for 80g, $29 for 120g).
Or if you are not willing to spend that much, there is a cheaper range of meats from the United States and Australia – the Jo-Karubi US Short Rib ($22 for 80g, $29 for 120g), Nami-Karubi US Chuck Rib ($19 for 80g, $24 for 120g) and Wagyu Tongue Aust ($20 for 80g, $39 for $120).
The meat is premium, and therefore the price is also premium. Even though the Japanese selection is about twice the price, I can safely say the tastiness and happiness you get out of eating those is more than double.
All things being equal. And provided you do not overcook your beef. For one piece burned – that would be $10 down the drain.
The Japanese Black Wagyu is air-flown from Kyushu, known for its smooth texture and robust flavours. The melt-in-your-mouth quality would likely give a pleasant surprise. My initial thought bubble was, “Wow, how would meat taste so tender and soft?” It was almost as if I did not have such beef ever in my life. I emphasize, “Wow”.
The meat is said to be chilled and delivered from the supplier daily, thereby tasting more refined and delicate. Frozen meat on the reverse is drier and tougher. Warning: your happiness may be short-lived once you see the final bills.
Thankfully, there are other items on the menu which won’t cost an arm or a leg, such as the recommended Dashimaki Tamago ($6.80), Kuro-Buta Ramen ($15.80) and Ishiyaki Bibimbap ($15.00).
Ito-Kacho serves quality Japanese rice. The reason I say so is because a food reviewer wrote that they had the “travesty of serving Thai rice rather than Japanese”. You wonder where did that come from.
One of the major concerns of not having barbeque, especially for lunch, is the worry of smelling like cooked meat after that. You do not want people to say your hair reminds me of wagyu. Unlike some other restaurants, Ito-Kacho has a specially designed pit which ensures most of the smoke will be sucked out.
They will also be launching new items such as sliced puffer fish soon, which strangely tasted like bak kwa to me. Told you they were not an ordinary barbecue restaurant.