Scotland is home to the first UK store dedicated to selling Wagyu – the world’s most expensive beef – when it was officially opened on Monday 15 August 2016 by a host of world-class chefs.
Legendary French chef, Albert Roux OBE, was joined by Tom Kitchin, Pierre Koffmann, Shaun Whatling and Fred Berkmiller to launch Wagyu House in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.
The new high street store is the brainchild of the husband and wife team, Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman, behind Highland Wagyu.
And it caters specially for the local retail market and the hundreds of private UK customers on their books with Wagyu products ranging from £10 to £1,000 per kilo.
The boutique shop on Henderson Street offers a wide range of Wagyu products from nose to tail, including handmade charcuterie, gourmet burgers and pies as well as prime cuts of sirloin, fillet and rib and all grades of Wagyu beef – from high grade Japanese Kobe to lower grade Australian beef.
The ‘chefs of honour’ are the most respected in the culinary world and keen supporters of Highland Wagyu, which looks to them for direction.
Albert Roux quickly became a mentor to the team, and the product, which is currently supplied to his Chez Roux restaurant at Cromlix House in Dunblane, will soon be available in his other restaurants across Scotland.
Scots chef Tom Kitchin, has taken the beef at his Leith-based restaurant, The Kitchin, since the beginning and is known colloquially as their ‘Minister of Beef’.
French-born Pierre Koffmann is chef proprietor of Koffmann’s at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge where Shaun Whatling is executive chef.
Fred Berkmiller, who was recently awarded Food Pioneer of the Year in The Scotsman’s Food & Drink Excellence Awards, is owner of Edinburgh-based L’escargot bleu and L’escargot blanc. He was one of the first – and the biggest – customers of Highland Wagyu.
Mohsin Altajir, owner of Wagyu House, said: “When we set up Highland Wagyu five years ago we knew chefs would be interested, but we didn’t anticipate such an overwhelming demand from the private market. We want to bring Wagyu to the masses and let people know about its different grades with different tastes. There is Wagyu to suit every taste bud and every pocket.”
Martine Chapman, who runs Dunblane-based Highland Wagyu, the UK’s largest producer of the Japanese beef cattle, said: “We wanted to keep everything local. Bridge of Allan is literally on our doorstep so we can oversee every aspect to ensure quality every step of the way, and the main suppliers of beef are bred and processed within a five-mile radius.”
At Wagyu House, daily dishes made with Wagyu will be available for takeaway while customers can also sit down to taste samples. Patrons can even select the number of days to dry age their beef in the store’s two drying agers, which use Himalayan rock salt for the process.
Since trading started at the beginning of June, the shop has sold more than a tonne of Wagyu beef, including a sell-out stand at the Royal Highland Show.
An online shop is also in development. In the meantime, orders for Wagyu House products can be placed on wagyuhouse.co.uk