Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku is the Stage that Wagyu Beef Deserves
Luxury has a name and it’s “wagyu”. Synonymous with the best meat quality, Wagyu beef has made a reputation for itself amongst meat lovers. The rockstar of beef deserves a grand stage and that’s what the newly opened Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku at Jewel Changi is meant to be.
An achievable goal, since EN Group has an intimate working relationship with the award-winning Miyazaki Beef. In fact, it’s already been proven a flourishing concept, since the flagship had been curated as part of the Hong Kong Michelin Guide.
Singapore’s first Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku is a touch more luxe and modern than its Hong Kong progenitor — bolder red tones to pair with the primarily wooden minimalist decor, while also pampering diners with a glimpse of Jewel Changi’s iconic rain vortex.
What’s special about this outlet is an intimate Japanese bar that’s situated right at the front, meant to present a vogueish and distinct experience that doesn’t involve the smouldering yakiniku grills.
The first manner of businesses here is, undoubtedly, the meat. To save the trouble of trawling through the menu to inform your order, an easy shortcut is to get the 7 Types Wagyu Beef Platter ($158).
No better way to get a comprehensive sampler of Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku’s menu since seven standouts are picked out that includes the likes of the opulent Deluxe Miyazaki Marbled Wagyu Kurabi ($50), the leaner Australian Wagyu ($25), and even a side of Premium Beef Tongue Stick ($40).
Yakiniku is pretty much a practice in hedonism so it only felt right to bless the grill with some beef fats, before laying out all the slices of Deluxe Miyazaki as the starter. Be patient, carefully waiting for the right level of doneness before clawing it out of the grill top.
When indulged medium well, there aren’t many words sufficient to describe the euphoric explosion of fatty bovine richness within the cut. Velvety and impossibly luscious, I think it’s easy to see why it’s the most expensive yakiniku cut on the menu at Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku.
After working through all the meat, the Miyazaki Wagyu performed exceptionally with their fatty decadence, especially the Chuck Roll but credit has to be given to the Australian Wagyu. Despite being contrasted against the exalted Japanese cut, its tamer profile provided a good intermission from the heavy flavours.
But really, gyu tan connoisseurs who understand its unique beauty will no doubt jump at the finale of Premium Beef Tongue. Given proper, assiduous grillwork, it turns out immensely succulent but with a plush bouncy texture that feels absolutely scandalous when swishing about your tongue.
While the luxe cuts of beef are the rockstars at Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku, the stage still has space for a few side acts and the Hiroshima Oysters ($18/4pcs) are the most alluring option from the seafood section of the menu.
The unbelievably plump molluscs just need a few minutes on the grill and the creamy juices gush out onto the tongue as fresh oysters do but are given a slight kiss of smoke. That said, they aren’t the cleanest-tasting since the much beloved Hiroshima Oysters do hide a whiff of brine.
A High Bar
But the dimly lit addendum at the entrance was perhaps the bigger surprise of the night — the bar offerings had impressively managed to punch at the same weight as the strips of meat fresh off of Wa-En Yakiniku’s grills.
These two concepts presented quite a dramatic juxtaposition of moods, going from the warm lights of the main dining hall to the chic speakeasy mood lights in the private room, surrounded by elegant Japanese wooden screen doors that allowed only an obfuscated glimpse inside.
Respecting the beef expertise of Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku, the choice of tipple from the bar menu was a rather enthralling Miyazaki Wagyu Fat-Washed Old Fashioned ($24), garnished with a gloriously aburi-ed Wagyu slice.
The combination of ingredients might sound intrepid but the execution is supremely palatable, turning the Old Fashioned richer and silkier with a tinge of brown sugar sweetness to enliven things. Even more beguilingly, their beef expertise perhaps helped in execution since it probably trumped the pricier similarly fat-washed rendition at Rosemead.
Food at Wa-En’s bar isn’t centred on Wagyu yakiniku but it still heavily features their crowning glory. Instead, the Wagyu is translated into smaller bites appropriate for the bar.
Truthfully, the Wagyu Saikoro Steak with Cold Chawanmushi & Foie Gras ($38) was overseasoned. But despite the heavy salinity, the stir-fried A4-A5 Miyazaki Wagyu was outrageously sapid and melt-in-the-mouth. And perhaps the heavy-handed wasn’t entirely misplaced since it helped in pairing with personality-filled sides like the chawan mushi with foie gras and maitake mushroom.
Other offerings like the simply grilled Wagyu Steak ($28) were all expertly handled as well and allowed the meat’s premium quality to shine but the exuberant blend of pulled beef and foie gras of the Wagyu Foie Gras Tacos ($22) might have strayed a bit into surfeit territory.
Changing up the pace, the bar also offers a Uni & Ikura on Truffle Inaniwa Cold Udon ($25) for a simple but tasteful medley of seafood richness. Personally, I think the Wagyu is too good to pass on even for the premium seafood here.
It’s not often you go into a restaurant like Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku, where every second item descriptor contains the words “A4-A5 Miyazaki Wagyu”, and leave satiated and not feeling like you overspent. That’s the EN Group charm and it persists even for what is probably its most high-brow dining concept in Singapore yet.
Don’t mistake it for cheap, the food here isn’t but they mostly justify their value with quality. Not to mention how I think the bar might be one of the best dedicated cocktail bars in Jewel Changi, in case anyone is hankering for a pre-flight tipple.
Make your reservations here.
Wa-En Wagyu Yakiniku
- Address: 78 Airport Boulevard, #01-224 Jewel Changi, Singapore 819666
- Hours: (Mon–Sun) 11am–10pm
*This was an invited tasting.