Thursday, January 4, 2018

2000yen Wagyu Beef Lunch set at Matsurokuya, Roppongi

Say Wagyu beef and the first thing that comes to mind is usually how expensive it is to have.... Unless you’re in Tokyo and have the opportunity to drop by Matsurokuya restaurant for lunch. Matsurokuya is located in one of the back streets of Roppongi, a short walk from Roppongi station and opens its doors at 1130am.

However, don’t be surprise to see a queue forming outside the restaurant an hour before it opens because Matsurokuya only sells 30 sets of its beautiful A5 Wagyu beef lunch set at only 2,000 yen (as of Oct 2017). I have wanted to try it since I read about it but despite two prior visits to Tokyo, never found the time to visit it or that area for that matter. Going to Matsuokuya required dedicating half the morning and my stomach to it and so after much planning, I headed out to Roppongi at 10am to reach the restaurant by 1020am. Even then, I was number 10 in line. A line quickly formed behind me within the hour.

A restaurant staff came out every 15 minutes from 1030am onwards to take note of the party number and order. For lunch, there was only the beef lunch set available but customers can also add on sashimi and beer to their lunch. They also won’t take your order if your party is incomplete so make sure your friends arrives on time or risk missing out on your place in queue.

Thankful, after the previous day’s consistent pouring rain and gale winds, the day I went was sunny and the temperature just right for a one hour long queuing experience. I occupied my time in queue editing my videos and before I knew it, it was 1130am. We were let in an orderly manner and were shown to our tables in private rooms. I shared a table with two other solo diners, one of whom I got to chatting with after the meal.

You can tell that mostly tourists visited the establishment for lunch because they have prepared instructions in English on how to enjoy the set. After getting seated, it was a 20 minutes wait before the food was served and it was glorious to behold. 

The redness of the beef was just mesmerising to stare at. At first bite, it was juicy, flavourful with the sauce in which it was cooked in. To say it melted in my mouth was a cliche but it did and it was much more enjoyable than a Michelin star meal. At first place, it looked like there was only one layer of beef but upon digging into the rice, I found another layer of well cooked beef, just as juicy and tasty as the top layer.

Everything on the tray was well-thought out from the wasabi portioning to the side dishes of kelp, tofu and salad. But don’t be too excited to finish up everything in one sitting. Midway through the meal, we were served with a second helping of rice and a kettle of tea soup to add to our bowl turning it into an ochazuke experience.

Dessert was a simple cold cocoa jelly that came with the bill. At this point I paid for my meal but still sat around to chat with my neighbour, Tara from America. We ended up meeting each other again at the Bunkyo Civic Center to catch the sunset later on.

Matsurokuya was the closest thing I was going to get to a Wagyu beef experience minus the hefty price tag that usually came with it. The staffs can speak simple English and they just came and go like silent ninjas throughout the entire ordeal. I didn’t get to see the whole restaurant as we were confined to our allocated rooms and tables but the ambiance spoke of the a classy dining experience. Which isn’t surprising as Matsurokuya was actually a fine dining restaurant in the evenings. You can also get Wagyu beef then but be prepared to pay double the amount.

The lunch affair was a steal. Granted, there was an hour plus long queue but if you’re willing to dedicate half your morning to it, well, your taste buds are in for a treat.

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