Monday, November 11, 2019

[Miyazaki, Kyushu] Takachiho Beef at Nagomi [高千穂牛レストラン 和(なごみ)]

When I was doing my Kyushu homework, one name popped up consistently and that name was Nagomi - a restaurant/butcher shop in Takachiho that specialises in Grad 4 Miyazaki beef. I was intrigued and hungry because each article and vlog kept describing the beef as melt-in-your mouth delicious.

So naturally I planned an excursion out to Takachiho on my recent Kyushu trip and pencilled Nagomi in for a 12pm lunch for fear of the crowd. Mind you it rained the whole day when we were there so my morning plans around the Takachiho Gorge were cut short and we headed to Nagomi as soon as it opened. Plus I was exhausted from the 2 hours drive so a break was needed. 

But first, some info on why this beef is so special - Takachiho beef is produced from black-coloured cows and is a specialty of the region. Its quality was recognized by the Japanese Prime Minister at the 9th National Wagyu Beef Capability Association, better known as the “Wagyu Olympics”, held in 2007. To give you a better idea - Japan ranks its wagyu beef on a strict scoring system that looks at marbling, meat colour, texture and fat colour. 1 = poor, 2 = insufficient, 3 = medium, 4 = good, 5 = excellent. Kobe beef is ranked at 5 and Takachiho beef is rated at 4+. 

With parking not an issue, we made our way to the restaurant and immediately got a table. English menus are available here so just ask for it (menu eigo). Service was prompt and fast and we got our meals relatively quickly as well.

My dad and I had opted for the loin steak set (JPY2,600) each which comes with a two slabs of 100g beef, rice, salad, miso soup and a drink. While my grandmother and mother ordered the Nagomi sirloin beef bowl to share (JPY1,400). For that price, it was a steal for the quality of beef and Nagomi only has a limited number of those bowls per day and only weekdays.

I would highly recommend getting the loin part as it has a nice balance of juicy fat and meat. The redness of my medium beef was perfect. Cutting into the slab was easy and when I bit into it, the juice and flavour was just so smooth and buttery. I can see now why melt-in-the-mouth was the best way to describe it.

There was a butcher shop at the entrance where they sell different cuts of the meat at affordable prices but as I was moving on to Nagasaki next, we had to forgo purchasing it. Nagomi is open for lunch and dinner but for those on a budget, go during lunch as the price at lunch was cheaper than dinner. When I was there, there was hardly anyone at the restaurant other than a few locals but I've heard that none rainy days, tourists can pour in and there can be a waiting time of half an hour. Reservations are recommended as well which I suggest getting your hotel or host to assist with that.

So if you are planning to go to Nagomi or have already been there, drop a comment below on your thoughts!

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