Wagyu beef, reared on Montgomeryshire beer, isn’t something you’d readily associate with the Welsh coast. But, then again, many people wouldn’t expect to find a Michelin-starred, five AA rosette restaurant in this corner of Britain, either.
Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms sits on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, a short drive from the scenic coast of Cardigan Bay. It makes a delicious setting for equally delicious food.
Owner and chef, Mr Gareth Ward, is a man passionate about the very best ingredients, but none more so than meat. His restaurant’s motto? “Ingredient led. Flavour driven. Fat fuelled. Meat obsessed.”
We asked this connoisseur of all things meaty what gets most up in his grill when it comes to steak.
1. It’s not just about fillet
“Be more adventurous with cuts.” says Ward “Find a good butcher and build up a relationship so that they can make recommendations of different cuts of beef to try. One of my favourites is a rump cap from the hind quarter, it’s really tasty.”
2. Not all beef is created equal
“Always find out where the meat has come from. Having visited farms, you see the work that goes into creating a great product. A cow that’s had a good diet will have a good amount of fat, which is essential for flavour. We get our Welsh Wagyu from Alternative Meats, which sells meat online. It’s not just for chefs and restaurants, anyone can order and have the meant delivered.”
Welsh Wagu on Ward’s Instagram
3. Most expensive doesn’t always mean most impressive
“It’s true that you get what you pay for, but you can go for cheaper cuts. Just make sure they are from high-quality meat and ask your butcher the best way to prepare and cut that cook that particular cut.”
4. Fat is the enemy
“Not true in the case of a perfectly cooked steak! Cook the meat with the fat left on, as it will add huge amounts of flavour. You can always cut it off before serving if you prefer.”
5. Get it while it’s hot!
Resting is the most important part of the process. It’s easy to cook steak quickly and then rush it to the plate to ensure it’s served hot but you’ll end up with a messy plate and a tougher texture if you don’t let it rest.
Start by getting the meat out a few hours before you want to cook it, so it comes up to room temperature. Season the raw beef with salt, get the pan really hot, add oil and then seal the meat, making sure it’s crisp on both sides. Next add butter and take off the heat but leave in the pan and keep turning the meat to keep it cooking consistently. Then put the meat in a warm place to rest for a few minutes before serving.”
6. Only serve steak with classic sauces
“Don’t be scared to try new things when it comes to sauces. Think about how a dish will combine sweet, salt, savoury and sour. A soy glaze is incredible as is has all these elements and really brings out the flavour in the meat. Once cooked, just brush with soy and enjoy! We also use English wasabi, which combines a nice sweetness with heat.”
7. Home kitchens don’t have the right kit to cook a perfect steak
“You don’t need lots of gadgets to cook the perfect steak, but it’s worth investing in a good pan and, for consistency, a meat thermometer. I always use one. Through trial and error, you can find the temperature that means the steak is cooked perfectly for you.
“If you do want to try out different ways of cooking steak, you could try putting the steak in a water bath first. Find the setting that makes the steak perfectly cooked for you and then give it a final caramelisation in the pan. You can even get creative and put marinades in the bag with the beef.”
Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms
Need something to wash that meat down with? Here’s why you should get a wine subscription…