As with everything produced by the Niseko-based HakuLife team, every detail of HakuSteak has been curated with luxury and perfection in mind. Located on the first floor of their award-winning accommodation, HakuVillas, minutes from the world’s best powder snow, the HakuSteak course showcases the very best of Hokkaido produce and intertwines it with French, Chinese and American influences for an unforgettable union of flavors.
The star of the course, is of course, the legendary HakuSteak: a dish that has been 20 years in the making. From choosing the right cattle to the best oven, no stone has been left unturned in their quest to create what is arguably the best steak in Japan.
Combing over 30 of Hokkaido’s wagyu farms to find the perfect fat to lean meat ratio, and balance of flavor and texture, the team chose the organic A4 kuroge wagyu (Japanese Black) cattle from Shiraoi, a small town southeast of Niseko. Not bred for commercial purposes, HakuSteak has an exclusive deal with the fourth-generation farm. The attention to detail doesn’t stop there though, the optimal wagyu is not just any Shiraoi Japanese Black, but specifically the females. They are smaller in stature and have less fat compared to their male counterpart, thus delivering that coveted buttery, umami-filled bite of bliss.
Like us, you may be wondering why A4 and not A5 – the acclaimed highest rank for wagyu? But, as Michael, the Co-Founder of HakuLife explained to us, A5 meat is too fatty for the steak they seek: it needs to be juicy but not overwhelmingly so.
So how do they cook it? Chef Luiz expertly cuts and trims the beautifully marbled sirloin block into generous portions, and seasons with dehydrated truffle, pepper and Himalayan salt. The Barcelona born Josper charcoal oven is fired up and the wagyu is engulfed by the 1000 degree flames – for just enough time to create a thin, Chicago steak style crisp charcoal layer while ensuring the center stays soft and succulent. The sizzling pieces are then doused in truffle oil and left to rest.
Next comes the presentation. Reminiscent of a Japanese garden, the steak rounds are nestled together with fresh broccolini, truffle creamed corn, crown daisy cake ‘rocks’, and a small mound of charred red pepper skin salt. A glistening red wine jus, reduced by 95%, tops some of the wagyu pieces to finish off the composition.
And now for the best bit. First enjoy a bite of wagyu by itself; embrace the melt-in-the-mouth texture. Then pair with the other items on the plate, and even a side of uni (sea urchin) cream for a marriage of sea and land. Every mouthful is a new experience.
The HakuSteak is at the heart of the course, but the dishes surrounding it compliment and enhance it. The Triple Shrimp Soup – featuring Hokkaido’s famous giant botan shrimp, homemade egg tofu dusted with scallion powder, shrimp consommé and paprika flecked shrimp crackers – is a delicate and elegant start to the meal.
While the Uni Truffle Claypot Rice is everything you can imagine and more. Eringi mushroom and truffle rice cooked in a claypot until the edges are slightly crisp, then lavishly topped with Hokkaido’s finest uni and ikura (salmon roe), a free range egg yolk, green onion, jet black truffle sauce and dehydrated truffle.
As with the steak, enjoy as-is in all its glory before embellishing it with a homemade spicy wagyu mala oil (made from the unused wagyu trimmings). Smooth and rich, it takes the dish to a whole new level, and once again demonstrates the skill of the HakuSteak team in drawing influences from the world-over to create entirely new flavor combinations.
Lastly, we enjoyed dessert by in-house Patissier Crystal. A charming combination of unsweetened steamed Japanese La France pear in the shape of a rose and sprinkled with rose petals, homemade osmanthus flower ice cream topped with goji berry dust and gold leaf, and a caramel-y almond tuile. A light and refreshing end to a meal we will be talking about for years to come.
Dining at HakuSteak is by reservation only – phone, email or inquire via their website contact form (find contact details here) – and is highly exclusive. They only take one or two groups per night in their cosy, private dining room so that every patron receives second-to-none service.
In its entirety, the HakuSteak course consists of around ten dishes and costs 30,000 yen a head (excluding tax, service charge and drinks). From the hospitality of the stellar team to the quality of the ingredients as well as the precision and technique that goes into executing each dish, HakuSteak is a must-go for anyone that actively seeks a culinary adventure!
Disclaimer: All information on this page is correct to our knowledge at the time of publication