Steak has always been somewhat of a staple on the London restaurant scene. It’s a simple, fail-safe order that’s often guaranteed to satisfy, but still feels special because of the accompanying sauces and sides. There came a time though, when all of a sudden regular steak had been trumped by something a little more exotic.
Gone were the days of diners lusting after USDA and Scottish Angus breeds, as now everyone was only interested in wagyu. For the uninitiated, wagyu beef is the name given to the four Japanese breeds of beef cattle (Black, Polled, Brown, Shorthorn) and it is considered of a higher quality than most beef because of the strict grading system that accompanies it.
Japanese wagyu is graded by how much usable meat comes from the cow. Grade A means a high yield of meat, whereas Grade B means an average yield and Grace C means a low yield. Each grade is then judged by the quality of the fat and its colour, before being labelled from one to five (with five being superior). So if you’ve ever seen a restaurant menu touting Grade A5 Japanese wagyu, you now know why it’s so special.
Outside of Japan, Australia boasts the biggest supply of wagyu beef, which is why you’ll sometimes see Australian wagyu on restaurant menus. Regardless of where it has come from, wagyu beef is seen as being superior because of its famously fine marble texture, which gives the meat more flavour.
If you’re on the hunt for wagyu beef in London, you’ll be glad to know that several of the capital’s restaurants serve it. Most places serve wagyu steaks, but some restaurants instead use limited quantities of the meat in other dishes, such as sushi rolls, tacos and more. However you order your wagyu, just know that it’s likely to come with a rather hefty price tag (we promise it’s worth it though).
Wagyu steak London
Steak is often considered a bit of a treat as it is, but for a truly VIP experience, wagyu steak is the only way to go. Check out the London restaurants below which serve up the good stuff and make sure to savour every bite.
What: Kobe beef is the headline act at Engawa, a smart minimalist Japanese right by the Ham Yard Hotel. The wagyu steak is available as part of the three- or five-course tasting menus, but if you don’t want to commit to that much food, instead order the wagyu croquette: stuffed with the cheese, sautéed foie gras and the famously marble-textured meat.
Where: 2 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
Sushisamba, City and Covent Garden
What: Whether it’s the sweeping views of the City outpost or the jungle-inspired interiors of the Covent Garden site, Sushisamba’s two London locations sure know how to make an impression. Primed for diners with bottomless pockets, Sushisamba’s wagyu offering comes in the form of a 1kg cut that requires 48 hours’ notice before ordering and is served with dipping sauces and pickled plums. The catch? It will set you back an eye-watering £1,000.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY; Opera Terrace, The Piazza, WC2E 8RF
CUT at 45 Park Lane, Mayfair
What: Probably the most glamorous steakhouse in London, CUT sets itself apart from the existing steakhouse set with high ceilings, glittering chandeliers and world-famous chef Wolfgang Puck’s name above the door. You can order wagyu steaks here which hail from either Australian or Japan, and there's a stacked wagyu burger available too. If you are feeling extra fancy, you even have the option to crown your beef with black truffle shavings or foie gras.
Where: 45 Park Lane, W1K 1PN
M Restaurants Threadneedle Street, Victoria Street and Twickenham
What: With three London locations (Threadneedle Street, Victoria Street and Twickenham), M Restaurants has built a reputation for being serious about its steaks. The food offering is also well-known for being unashamedly over the top (crab and truffle sando anyone?), so it’s no surprise that wagyu is a staple of the menu. Enjoy it in steak form when it is served as a fillet, or make it part of your starters with the smoked wagyu tartare, paired with apple and foie gras.
Where: 60 Threadneedle Street, EC2R 8HP; Zig Zag Building, Victoria Street, SW1E 6SQ; Brewery Lane, Brewery Wharf, TW1 1AA
What: Boasting a Michelin star, stylishly appointed Kai has long been a favourite of Londoners on the hunt for high-quality Chinese cuisine. Here, the classic dish of black pepper beef is given a luxe update with diners able to pick between Scottish fillet or wagyu as the base. The sought-after meat is adorned with crushed black pepper and garlic flakes, and arrives at the table inside a sliced Chinese take on a classic French croissant.
Where: 65 South Audley Street, W1K 2QU
Royal China Club, Baker Street
What: We know it’s wrong to have favourites but Royal China Club, the flagship branch of the expansive Royal China chain, is without doubt the best of the bunch. An extensive refurb in the summer of 2018 has given the interiors a much welcomed refresh, but the reliable menu needs no such tinkering. Don’t believe us? Try the A5 wagyu beef fillet which is served in teriyaki sauce with black garlic, and thank us later.
Where: 40-42 Baker Street, W1U 7AJ
STK, Covent Garden
What: The sole London outpost of international brand STK acts as a magnet for the Instagram crowd (you’ve definitely seen its famous purple-hued interiors on your feed before). It’s not all about looks here though, as STK also does a decent line in high-quality steaks. The wagyu here is sourced from Australia and is available in either sirloin or skirt form, best enjoyed with STK’s sumptuous sides such as black truffle mac ‘n’ cheese or parmesan topped chips.
Where: 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA
What: Although beef sourced from Argentina is the name of the game at family-run Omnino, the restaurant also provides prime US beef and Grade 5 wagyu. The wagyu is available as a rump cut or ribeye, while you can also enjoy it as part of the £135 Omnini Prime Collection – a sharing board of wagyu picana, US spicy ribeye and Argentine fillet which is accompanied by a selection of sauces.
Where: 78-79 Leadenhall Street, EC3A 3DH
What: From the people behind the Goodman mini-chain, Beast is a luxuriously appointed (but eye-wateringly expensive) restaurant in a basement space featuring glittering candelabras and long communal wooden tables. If you’ve got the funds though, you can head here to enjoy the likes of whole Norwegian king crab and triple-cooked chips flecked with black truffle shavings. Wagyu meanwhile, is available as sirloin for a rather steep £40 per 100g.
Where: 3 Chapel Place, W1G 0BG
Smith & Wollensky, Covent Garden
What: New York’s Smith & Wollensky is so well-known in the US that it has even been featured in a few Hollywood films. This London outpost is a sleek and sophisticated space, although it cares about sourcing too – much of the beef here is butchered on site and hung in a dry-ageing room. USDA prime steaks are the main draw, but wagyu is here too, offered up as ribeye which can be enjoyed alongside truffle mac ‘n’ cheese or fries.
Where: 1-11 John Adam Street, Charing Cross, WC2N 6HT
What: Although clean and crisp Japanese restaurant TOKii is by no means a cheap eat, the restaurant’s wagyu offering is among the most affordable on our list. Enjoy the prime beef on teriyaki-style skewers or go for the traditional steak paired with a spicy ponzu sauce and a helping of truffle-flecked fries. Wash it down with a choice from the cocktail list which is inspired by the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water, or try a shot of sake if you’re feeling brave.
Where: 50 Great Cumberland Place, W1H 7FD
What: Full disclaimer, dinner at Tokimeite might leave you with little funds for the rest of the month (even by Mayfair standards), but there is no denying the quality of the cooking on show here. Wagyu beef is in fact one of Tokimeite’s specialities and you’ll find dishes featuring the stuff peppered across the menu – our favourites though include the wagyu carpaccio and the steak served in a ponzu sauce and mixed with grated daikon.
Where: 23 Conduit Street, W1S 2XS
Park Chinois, Mayfair
What: Kitted out to look like a 1930s Shanghai speakeasy, Park Chinois is big-ticket special-occasion dining done right. While you’ll no doubt be distracted by the opulent, gold-drenched interiors, we’d recommend keeping focus when it comes to the menu. Wagyu appears no less than 14 times on the à la carte; go big with the ribeye (£120 a pop) or show some restraint and order the wagyu beef gyoza to start – a comparative bargain at £16 for three.
Where: 17 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EA
Sexy Fish, Mayfair
What: Packed nightly with famous faces, W1 residents and moneyed tourists, Sexy Fish is plenty of fun and a great spot for people watching too. The menu here is as luxurious as you would expect, with dishes featuring the likes of caviar, lobster and duck all coming as standard. When it comes to wagyu, you’ll find it available as either sirloin or fillet, as well as in gyoza where it is joined by helpings of foie gras and black truffle shavings.
Where: Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR
Imperial Treasure, Waterloo
What: Imperial Treasure is already a big deal in Asia where a handful of its outposts boast Michelin stars, and now it’s attempting to crack the UK. The restaurant caused a stir when it debuted for charging diners £100 for Peking duck, so perhaps we shouldn’t be shocked at the £128 price tag for the pan-fried wagyu with crispy garlic. The quality of cooking on display here is undeniable though, so if you’ve got the money to spare, Imperial Treasure is worth every penny.
Where: 9-10 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE
Wagyu beef London
If you are not in the mood for steak, there are plenty of other ways to get your fix of wagyu. Whether you enjoy it in a taco, a sushi roll or even a hotdog, these London restaurants serving wagyu beef dishes are bound to satisfy your cravings.
Nobu Berkeley St, Nobu London and Nobu Shoreditch
What: You would struggle to find someone in London who hasn’t heard of the Nobu brand (Berkeley St, London, Shoreditch) which has outposts around the world in glitzy locations such as LA, Monte Carlo and Dubai to name just a few. Considering that Nobu is known for serving high-end Japanese fare, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that wagyu makes several appearances across the menu – from the fillings of burgers and dumplings, to the topping of nigiri and sashimi.
Where: 15 Berkeley Street, W1J 8DY
Sumosan Twiga, Knightsbridge
What: Primed for the Knightsbridge set, with impossibly glam art-deco interiors and a weekend brunch that involves sparklers strapped to bottles of Champagne, it’s easy to forgive those who don’t expect much from the food at Sumosan Twiga. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Sumosan’s menu of both Japanese and Italian dishes; for the ultimate indulgence, try the aptly named Billionaire Rolls (sushi topped with wagyu and fresh truffle).
Where: 165 Sloane Street, SW1X 9QB
What: Another London restaurant that pairs Asian and Italian food is Novikov, the unashamedly flash celeb-magnet that finds its home on Berkeley Street. You can find wagyu steak on the menu, while the luxury beef also pops up in the appetisers, where it is used as a filling for Asian-style tacos. You can continue the decadence at dessert too, thanks to the likes of banana crumble-inspired lava cake, which is served with salted caramel ice cream.
Where: 50 Berkeley Street, W1J 8HA
Hot Stone, Islington
What: When you think of high-quality Japanese food in London, Islington probably isn’t the first area that comes to mind. That’s the great thing about unassuming Hot Stone though, which offers an alternative to the flashiness of Mayfair or Knightsbridge. As the name suggests, guests cook their own meats at the table here and wagyu pops up all over the menu, from the filling of maki rolls to a sharing platter of the stuff featuring various tempting cuts.
Where: 9 Chapel Market, N1 9EZ
Goodman Canary Wharf, City and Mayfair
What: With three London locations in moneyed neighbourhoods (Canary Wharf, City, Mayfair), Goodman is a New York-inspired steakhouse boasting dark and moody interiors. If you want meat for both starters and mains (no judgement here), you can begin with a 100g of wagyu, which is served with shallot rings, confit garlic, cress, fig and truffle honey balsamic. Next up, move on to Goodman’s enviable selection of Lake District and USDA steaks.
Where: 3 South Quay, E14 9RU; 11 Old Jewry, EC2R 8DU; 26 Maddox Street,W1S 1QH
Boyd’s Grill & Wine Bar
What: Stately Boyd’s Grill is all high ceilings, marble columns and plush seating. The menu is just as decadent as the surrounds, and although you won’t find a wagyu steak, there is the option to order a wagyu hot dog or wagyu steak sub. For afters, try the bookable nitrogen ice cream experience, when you get to try all of the flavours made on-site in the restaurant that day, which could be up to 24 flavours at any one time. Our advice? Wear loose jeans.
Where: 8 Northumberland Avenue, WC2N 5BY
The Ivy Asia, St Paul’s
What: The Ivy Collection, a spin-off of the original Ivy in Covent Garden, already boasts over 30 locations around the UK, but the endlessly self-replicating brand has spawned another sibling with The Ivy Asia. Doing what it says on the tin, this Instagram-baiting haunt (gold-gilt ceiling, illuminated floor) serves an array of Asian delights, among them wagyu maki rolls slicked with a barbecue glaze and wagyu beef tataki served with pickled veg.
Where: 20 New Change Passage, EC4M 9AG
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is so special about wagyu beef?
Wagyu is considered superior because it has higher levels of intra-muscular fat, which gives the meat a marbled, finer texture which results in more flavour.
Why is wagyu beef so expensive?
Wagyu beef is more expensive than other breeds because it is of a higher quality. The Japanese government also tightly controls how much wagyu beef can be made and exported too, in order to protect the value and quality of the product.
What do wagyu cows eat?
You might be surprised to learn that cows reared for wagyu beef exist on a diet of beer, as well as typical cow feed. The cattle are also massaged daily with sake (Japanese rice wine) in order to create the marble texture that the beef is famous for.
If you don’t discriminate when it comes to beef, check out our pick of the best steak restaurants in London.